The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has said the labour movement is open and ready to dialogue with President Bola Tinubu-led administration on the fuel subsidy issue.
It, however, urged the government, “in the interest of the country and its people, not to dictate on such a matter or engage in manipulating the outcome of such consultations”.
TUC made this known in a statement signed by its President, Mr Festus Osifo, and Secretary General, Mr Nuhu Toro, on Tuesday in Lagos, urging the government to hold on for a while on the issue.
The union was reacting to Tinubu’s Monday inaugural speech, where he had mentioned that the fuel subsidy was no longer justifiable and gone.
“We dare say that this is a very delicate issue that touches on the lives, if not very survival of, particularly the working people, hence ought to have been treated with utmost caution.
“Also, it should have been preceded by robust dialogue and consultation with representatives of the working people including professionals, market people, students and the poor masses.
“Accordingly, we hereby demand that President Tinubu should tarry a while, to give room for robust dialogue, consultation and stakeholders engagement, just as he opined in his speech, until all issues and questions – and there are a host of them – to ensure that they are amicably considered and resolved.
“Nigerian workers and indeed masses must not be made to suffer the inefficiency of successive governments,” it said.
The union expressed concerns over the president’s failure to reveal his plans on how to tackle and address the issue of poor and unchecked deterioration in industrial relations, particularly in the education, health and judiciary sectors.
According to the TUC, these often result to prolonged strike and I ndustrial actions and their attendant adverse effects on society and the economy.
“A case in point is the current nationwide strike by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).
“If there is anything for the administration to hurriedly address from day one in office, it’s the abysmal N30,000 minimum wage that has since been eroded by the problematic monetary and fiscal policies of government,” the union said.
It, however, said it was encouraged by the new government’s promise to engage in job creation, food security and end extreme poverty.
The TUC, therefore, urged the government to engage organised labour, employers of labour, professional organisations and the informal sector.
“This is necessary so that these programmes will not become mere propaganda in which unverifiable statistics will be churned out periodically.
“Congress welcomes the promise to make electricity accessible and affordable to businesses and homes.”
‘’It suggests that the Tinubu government begins by stopping the periodic arbitrary increases in price of electricity imposed by the distribution companies while regulatory and consumer agencies look away, ‘’ the union said.
It noted that like always, it would stand by the people and their interests.
‘’Nigerian workers are hardworking and have remained consistent with productive work, regardless of harsh government policies, poor governance and mismanagement of resources that have placed us under difficult living conditions,” it said.