With the suspension of its planned strike, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) on Wednesday shed light on the rationale for its insistence on reducing the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (or petrol).
Failed talks with the Federal Government had led to plans by organised labour to embark on industrial action, in light of President Bola Tinubu’s inaugural speech last Monday declaring “fuel subsidy is gone“.
The President’s remarks followed former President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to halt payment of fuel subsidy beyond June 2023.
TUC President Festus Osifo, in a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, stated that at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, different options were considered.
“The options were, one, should we stall the negotiations or discussions and ask the government to return the pump price before we continued the discussions?” he said.
“Some people argued that — let’s assume the government today returns the pump price to say they want to have discussions for the next one month till the end of June.
“The argument was that what is going to happen is that marketers are going to hoard [products], the same workers and Nigerians that we want to protect, are the same people that would bear the brunt.”
According to him, the expectation is that Nigerians would pay a “much higher price” and “long queues” would resurface at fuel stations across the country.
“It now came that, ‘while we’re insisting that you return [the price], we should still continue the conversation and the discussions’. That was the resolution that came from the TUC’s NEC.”