The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has given five-day ultimatum to the Federal Govenment to revert to the old price regime of N86.50 per litre for premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol.
Rising from an emergency meeting of its National Executive Council, on Friday in Lagos, the union rejected the “astronomical” increase in the price of the product from N86.50 to N145 per litre.
At the end of the meeting, the NEC gave the Federal Government up till Wednesday, 18 May, to invite the leadership of the union on the way forward.
According to a communique issued at the end of the meeting by its President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and acting Secretary General, Comrade Simeso Amachree, the NEC directed its leadership to interface with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the civil society allies to work out action plans that would be put in place to protest the “insensitive fuel price hike should the Federal Government fail to meet the Wednesday deadline.”
Speaking with Saturday Tribune on the sideline of the meeting, the first Vice President, TUC, Comrade Sunday Salako, said the Nigerian masses were already feeling the brunt of the hike in pump price of the commodity.
“Imagine, the price of food commodities has gone up, transport fares have risen and it will soon affect every aspect of our economy,” he said.
When asked about the claims by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, that the decision to arrive at N145 per litre was reached in conjunction with the labour unions, he disagreed and stated that “there was no meeting at all. When you were invited and someone read out the speech he had already prepared without your inputs, would you have called that a meeting?
“We give them till Wednesday and if nothing is done, we will react.”
The Federal Government, on Wednesday, announced that it had deregulated the downstream sector and gave the new pump price of petrol as N145 per litre.
The decision is attracting lots of criticisms from labour unions, civil society groups and Nigerians generally.
Many have also accused the labour unions of insensitivity to the plights of the common man, considering their silence when electricity tariffs were increased.
Whether the labour unions will come up with a replica of 2012 ‘Occupy Nigeria’ protest, time will tell.