April 16, 2024

Mass action: NLC, TUC mobilize for protest over failed cost-of living pact, return of fuel queues

Adebayo Obajemu

Nigerian labour Congress (NLC), and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have increased the tempo of mobilization for a planned nationwide protest geared for February 27 and 28, to force the Tinubu administration to immediately implement an agreement reached with the Federal Government to address the escalating cost-of-living crisis.

Sources in the know of the matter disclosed to EnergyDay that at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting convened virtually on February 16 to review the progress on the agreement, it was resolved that there should be mass protest to persuade the administration to honour the agreement.

Growing frustration with the government’s inaction on key promises led the unions to reiterate their demand for swift implementation.

“The NLC, at its Zoom meeting held on Friday, February 16, 2024, resolved to demand the implementation of the agreement with the Federal Government without further delay,” the source told EnergyDay.

It must be noted that the refusal of government to meet the 14-day ultimatum issued by the unions on February 8 has fuelled the planned two-day nationwide protest. NLC Head of Information, Benson Upah, confirmed the mobilization efforts and the unwavering commitment to the action.

“Why would we back down? Has anything changed to warrant that? For your information, we are mobilizing in earnest,” Upah declared, dismissing any suggestion of backing down from the protest.

A memo by the General Secretary of the National Union of Public Service Reportorial, Secretarial, Data Processors, and Allied Workers Union (NUPSRW), confirms the NEC meeting’s resolution and outlines the mobilization strategy.

The memo emphasizes the importance of immediate action by unions and their members, urging collaboration between state and federal NLC chapters to ensure “active participation” in the protest.

Nigerians are worried about the likelihood of fuel crisis as labor unions mobilize. The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) commenced a strike on February 19, citing high operational costs. This strike has already resulted in fuel queues in several major cities, raising fears of further disruption and hardship.