Fuel, Electricity Hike: FG, Labour Meeting Adjourned To Monday

A photo combination of TUC and NLC logos.

 

The meeting between the federal government and the organised labour over the recent hike in the pump price of petroleum and electricity tariff has been adjourned to Monday. 

This is to enable the federal government do a proper consultation on the pump price of petrol with labour insisting on the reversal of the price.

Both parties had reconvened on Thursday evening, days after the labour leaders walked out of another parley with the federal government to discuss the matter.

In his opening remarks during the meeting in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said Sunday’s event was not a walkout but a recess.

READ ALSO: How Nigeria Will Become A Net Exporter Of Petrol, Others – Buhari

A file photo of the Minister of Labour and Employment.

 

He insisted that both parties – the government and the labour unions – were working for the betterment of the nation.

Ngige stressed that the issues at stake, which included the hike in electricity tariff and the price of petrol, do not only affect the citizens but also those on the government’s side.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who was also at the meeting, addressed the labour leaders.

He gave an assurance that the government would ensure that resolutions reached would be for the benefit of the Nigerian people.

Mustapha also thanked the labour leaders for their show of patriotism, stressing that what happened on Sunday was a recess and not a breakdown of discussions.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Govt Reconvenes Meeting With Organised Labour Leaders

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, was absent at the meeting, but he was represented by the General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Joe Ajaero.

Ajaero disagreed with the remarks of the labour minister and the SGF that the last meeting was a recess, insisting that it did not end peacefully.

He also insisted that the agenda for discussion should be presented for adoption before going forward.

Others in attendance include the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouk.

Electricity Tariff: FG Agrees To Provide Relief Of N10.20k/kW For Three Months

NEMSA, DISCOs, Meter

 

The discussions between the Federal Government and organised labour over the recent electricity tariff increase seems to be yielding a positive result.

This comes after the Federal Government on Sunday agreed to provide a tariff relief of 10 naira 20 kobo per kilowatt of electricity for Nigerians for the next three months and also massively distribute free meters to electricity consumers.

The  Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo announced this in a communique posted on his twitter handle, following the expiration of the 2-week suspension of the increased electricity tariff yesterday.

He said the Federal Government will use VAT proceeds to temporarily subsidize tariffs while the Adhoc committee will work for two more months to resolve other issues regarding tariff adjustments.

According to the Minister, “other immediate reliefs include the provision of six million free meters to Nigerians, salary protection for electricity workers, a mandatory refund for any overbilling during system transition by the discos, monthly publication by NERC of allowed billing of unmetered customers, etc.”

Mr. Keyamo added that the Adhoc committee set up by the Federal Government and organised labour last month agreed to adopt a two-phase approach to proffer solutions to resolve issues in the sector on a medium-term basis.

Labour had suspended its planned industrial action after the Federal Government suspended the tariff increase pending the outcome of their negotiation.

The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in January approved the immediate review of electricity tariffs across the country.

A review of the new amount to be paid by various categories of electricity consumers indicates an increase that ranges from 59.7 per cent to 77.6 per cent.

Consumers classified as residential (R1) were, however, excluded from the review as the N4 per kWh they pay was left unchanged.

The development affected the 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) spread across the country such as Abuja DISCO, Benin DISCO, Enugu DISCO, and Eko DISCO.

Others are Ibadan DISCO, Ikeja DISCO, Jos DISCO, Kaduna DISCO, Kano DISCO, Port Harcourt DISCO, and Yola DISCO.

According to the latest order, the new amount to pay varies among categories of electricity consumers such as residential, commercial, industrial, special, and lighting.

Below are documents from the resolutions: 

‘We Will Follow Through’: Kyari Hails FG’s Deal With Labour

A file photo of NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari

 

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday praised the Federal Government’s agreement with Organised Labour to suspend the latter’s industrial action.

The labour unions had threatened to embark on a nationwide strike today (Monday) over the increase in fuel and electricity prices.

READ ALSO: Labour Suspends Planned Strike, FG To Put Electricity Tariff Hike On Hold

But after a meeting that started late Sunday and ended in the early hours of Monday, both parties struck a deal to suspend the strike for two weeks.

“We reached accord to suspend the planned strike action, great responsibility for both Govt and Labour, all serving the common good, beneficial challenge for NNPC, we will follow through diligently,” Kyari tweeted on Monday.

 

Fuel prices increased earlier this month as the deregulation of the country’s petroleum downstream sector continued to take shape.

Earlier on Monday, Kyari noted that the labour union’s understood the “inevitability” of deregulation and are working with the government to develop local refining sufficiency.

“NLC and TUC demonstrated absolute faith in our country and showed understanding on inevitability of PMS deregulation and jointly charted way forward to secure local refining sufficiency through greater stakeholder inclusiveness and transparency,” he said. “We will follow through diligently.”

 

FG Meets With Labour Unions

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, presides over the meeting between government representatives and labour leaders in Abuja on October 14, 2019.

 

The Federal Government on Sunday met with Labour Unions to avert the planned strike billed for Monday, September 28. 

A statement signed by Charles Akpan, the spokesman of the Labour and Employment Ministry, noted that the meeting was to commence at 7:00 pm.

According to the communique, the Honorable Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige was to meet with the Organized Labour at the Presidential Villa Banquet Hall.

As of the time of writing this report, the closed-door meeting was still ongoing and the outcome remains unknown.

Earlier on Sunday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) insisted that it will carry on with its proposed strike action with regards to the recent increase in electricity tariff and the removal of petrol subsidy.

This resolve was taken following a closed-door meeting between the NLC and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila.

Mr Gbajabiamila met with representatives of NLC, at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja, in an attempt to mediate and broker an amicable solution to the impasse between Organised Labour and the Federal Government (FG).

Briefing journalists after the meeting, NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba said the proposed strike by the union will proceed unless the FG addresses the issues.

Reacting to the court order restraining the NLC from downing tools, Mr Wabba said the organization has not been served with the order and cannot speak on it.

He, however, noted that there is a judgement of a Federal High court stopping the increase of electricity tariff which the FG has refused to obey.

According to the NLC President, the proposed strike will only fail to hold if the govt makes a u-turn before 12 midnight today.

Labour cannot go on a strike in good conscience

At the brief before the closed-door meeting on Sunday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila said Labour cannot go on a strike in good conscience as the consequences will be dire on Nigerians who will feel the hardship caused by the industrial action.

He stated that the House of Representatives shares the same thoughts and philosophy with the NLC as regards the plight of workers and the House of Reps championed the cause of free electricity and had advised that the hike in tariff be put in effect from 2021.

Nevertheless, the Speaker said he worries about the consequences of the strike and what will be achieved at the end.

In reply to the Speaker’s comments, the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba argued that the increase in electricity tariff and removal of petrol subsidy is bringing hardship on Nigerians, stressing that the organization is asking the FG to reverse the policy decisions.

Strike: Give Us More Time To Negotiate, Gbajabiamila Pleads With NLC

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Sunday implored the Nigerian Labour Congress, and the Trade Union Congress to give room for enough time for negotiations with the executive arm of government over the proposed industrial action initially scheduled to commence on Monday.

The Speaker made the appeal while meeting with the President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, and the President of the TUC, Quadri Olaleye, in his office on Sunday.

He expressed concerns over the consequences of a shutdown of the nation’s socio-economic activities on Nigerians, while disclosing his intentions to interface with the executive for a possible amicable resolution of the demands of the Labour unions.

The labour unions had threatened to embark on industrial action from Monday if their demands for the reversal of the increase in electricity tariff and Premium Motor Split (PMS) were not met.

But the Speaker said it is incumbent upon the House as elected representatives to see how they can intervene and perhaps a third voice, would be able to broker some kind of amicable solution to the ongoing impasse while citing instances where the House had successfully intervened.

He later met with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, to deliberate on the outcome of his meeting with the labour leaders.

 

Monday Mass Protest: Gbajabiamila Meets With NLC

 

 

The labour leaders later on, went into a meeting with the Federal Government which commenced at 7:00 pm and continued till late into the night.

The outcome of the meeting will determine whether or not the strike will hold.

Do Not Join Labour Strike, FG Warns Civil Servants

The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan.

 

The Federal Government has warned civil servants against participating in the planned nationwide strike called by the organised Labour.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and its affiliate unions had called on workers to embark on an indefinite industrial action on Monday over the price of petrol and electricity tariff.

But in a statement issued on Saturday, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, asked civil servants to be at work, saying the government is engaging with the union officials over the issue.

“Accordingly, all officers on grade level 12 and above and those on essential services are hereby strongly advised to be at work to perform their official duties.

“Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers are, therefore, enjoined to bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all concerned officers and ensure strict compliance,” the statement partly read.

Yemi-Esan argued that there is a court injunction granted by the National Industrial Court with suit number, NICN/ABJ/253/2020 issued on September 24 on the matter.

READ ALSO: NLC Insists On Monday Protest Despite Court Order

The court order, she noted, had restrained the NLC and TUC from embarking on any form of industrialisation action pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice.

“Sequel to the Labour Unions for workers to embark on industrial action from Monday, Sept. 28, the office of the HOCSF wishes to inform all public servants that the Federal Government team is currently engaging with the labour unions with the view to resolving all contentious issues and avert the planned industrial actions,” she said.

The HOCSF’s directive comes 24 hours after Justice Ibrahim Galadima of the National Industrial Court in Abuja issued a fresh restraining order against the unions, following an ex parte application by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The fresh order came a day after the same judge made a similar restraining ex parte order in favour of a group, Peace and Unity Ambassadors Association, on Thursday.

The judge ordered that both the NLC and the TUC joined as the defendants in the suit should be served with the fresh court order within seven days from Friday.

FG Secures Another Court Order Barring Industrial Action On Monday

A flag of a Nigerian labour union.

 

The Federal Government on Friday obtained a fresh order barring the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on Monday.

Justice Ibrahim Galadima of the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja again issued the restraining order following an ex-parte application by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

READ ALSO: Labour Leaders Meet With FG, Insist On Reversal Of Fuel, Electricity Hike

This is coming barely 24 hours after the same judge made a similar restraining ex-parte order in favour of a civil society group, Peace and Unity Ambassadors Association, on Thursday.

The Acting Director of the Department of Civil Litigation of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Maimuna Shiru, and Mr Tijjani Gazali, led the Federal Government’s team who moved the ex-parte application that was later granted by Justice Galadima.

The NLC and TUC had jointly declared a nationwide strike billed to start on Monday to press for the reversal of the recent hike in petrol pump price and electricity tariff.

 

Electricity Tariff Hike: Nigerians Will Understand Where We Are Going – Osinbajo’s Aide

 

Laolu Akande has defended the Federal Government following the outcry that met the hike in electricity tariff, insisting that things will get better with time. 

Akande, the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, believes it is in the best interest of Nigerians.

“The people that we are negotiating with in labour, they are Nigerians. We will show them the evidence,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Tuesday, while responding to a question on how the Federal Government will negotiate with labour unions who have rejected the tariff increment.

“The superior logic is what is going to determine the fate of our nation; the thinking, the transparency; the honesty and the commitment. We are confident Nigerians will understand what we are doing and where we are going.”

READ ALSO: CBN Approves N200bn Housing Loan, Targets 900,000 Low-Income Earners, Children

While reiterating that everyone has a stake in the country, Akande called on Nigerians to be patient with government.

 

Akande believes the hike in electricity is in the best interest of Nigerians.

 

“It is important for Nigerians to understand the protections Mr President has put in place and take it from there,” the media aide explained

Buttressing measures in place to cushion the impact of the increase in tariff,  he restated that majority of Nigerians will not be paying more for electricity.

According to him, those who get less than twelve hours of power supply but are paying the new electricity charges should “let us know.”

“The President has also said that there should be mass metering in the country and we are starting with the provision of least five million meters,” he noted

“The President said he has waived the tariff to bring the meters so that everybody gets a meter,” assuring that “the president is on their side.”

FG, Labour Meet

The organized labour had threatened to down tools over the hike in electricity and the pump price of petrol and, Tuesday, met with representatives of the Federal Government.

The meeting called by the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigerian Labour Congress in attendance held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Channels Television learned that the meeting which is at the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari is to discuss solutions to the recurring labour issues with a view to finding an end to incessant industrial actions.

FG Meets With NLC, TUC Over Hike In Electricity, Fuel Tariff

 

The Federal Government on Tuesday met with the organised Labour over the hike in electricity and fuel tariffs.

The meeting called by the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigerian Labour Congress in attendance held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Channels Television learned that the meeting which is at the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari is to discuss solutions to the recurring labour issues with a view to finding an end to incessant industrial actions.

In attendance at the meeting is the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.

This comes as the labour unions are threatening to down tool over the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.

They are also complaining of non-implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage, alleged corruption in government agencies, loss of jobs across the industries, high cost of living and, businesses not booming in the light of the effects of COVID-19.

The labour unions and their civil society allies are meant to commence an indefinite industrial action and national protest from Wednesday, September 23.

READ ALSO: Mali Crisis: Osinbajo Attends ECOWAS Summit in Ghana

On his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum said all is not well with the economy, calling for cooperation to fix the economy

While making a presentation on the topic, “Understanding the importance of fuel subsidy on the Nigerian Economy and the gains of deregulation,” Sylva noted that subsidy payment is a major source of corruption.

According to the minister, oil prices are low, adding that there is also a cut in production to about 1.412 million barrels per day.

Sylva who stressed that the nation’s major source of income which is oil, reduced by over 50 per cent, maintained that Nigeria was losing about N1billion daily to subsidy between 2016-2019.

Prior to this time, the country was losing about 3.7 billion naira daily.

Speaking further, he explained that despite the deregulation, fuel price in the country is the cheapest in the West African region.

He added that subsidy cost the government N2trillion in 2011 and N1.3trillion in 2013.

Ondo Govt To Meet With Stakeholders On Monday Over Workers’ Welfare

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu

 

The Ondo State Government has said that it would be meeting with key stakeholders in the state between Monday, July 13 and Wednesday the 15th, to discuss issues around workers’ welfare in the state.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Saturday by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo.

According to him, the meeting is aimed at deepening Industrial harmony in the state and engendering a very robust engagement.

Ojogo also noted that the meeting became pertinent after the attention of the state government was drawn to a widely circulated correspondence to the Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

While noting that some of the issues listed are not peculiar to Ondo State, Ojogo assured that the government always considered the welfare of workers very paramount and will not play politics with the avowed commitment.

“It is pertinent to state that the issues raised in the correspondence are not new. They are neither peculiar to Ondo State, especially during this period that has compelled states to undergo unpleasant economic challenges following the drastic drop in both Federation Allocation Account and Internally Generated Revenue,” the statement read.

“Nevertheless, the Ondo State Government has always considered the welfare of workers very paramount and shall not play politics with this avowed commitment. It is on record that as at today, Ondo State ranks among those states with a higher level of worker-friendliness among the comity of States in Nigeria.

“Our inherited liabilities, as well as unforeseen occurrences notwithstanding, this culture of commitment, shall be heightened”.

Labour, ASUU Disagree Over Legality Of Warning Strike

A photo combination of Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo and ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi.
A photo combination of Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo and ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi.

 

The Ministry of Labour and the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), have disagreed over the legality of the ongoing strike.

Speaking at a meeting with the leadership of the House of Representatives on Thursday, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, said the ministry has not received any notice of strike from ASUU.

He noted that the Trade Dispute Act requires that ASUU give 15 days notice before embarking on any strike, hence it is an illegal strike.

Mr Keyamo further stated that the government is not officially aware of the demands of ASUU.

However, according to Mr. Keyamo, the government has invited ASUU for negotiations later today (Thursday) and progress will be reported back to the Speaker after the meeting.

The Minister for State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who was present at the meeting aligned with Mr. Keyamo’s position.

Meanwhile, the National President of ASUU, Prof Abiodun Ogunyemi in his response says on February 7, 2019, a Memorandum of Action was signed between ASUU and FG.

READ ALSO: Ngige Says ASUU Strike Is ‘Shocking, Illegal’

He explained that on January 9, 2020, the union met with President Buhari and the ministries where he asked the ministers to look into the issues raised.

He said there had been meetings with the Minister of Education and ASUU had written to the Minister of Labour informing him of the strike.

According to Prof Ogunyemi, the 2009 agreement is the originating document and, till date, the agreement has not been met.

The union has also been at loggerheads with the government over the directive to members of ASUU to enroll in the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) which the government made compulsory for all civil servants.

On IPPIS, Prof Ogunyemi said the government should not impose it on ASUU as it is not in line with the best global practices.

He said the IPPIS will further reduce the ranking of Nigerian universities.

The Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila after listening to all sides, frowned at the failure to keep agreements.

He blamed the government for failing to keep its end of the agreement.

On the IPPIS issue, Gbajabiamila told ASUU no one is above the law, even if that law isn’t favourable to the union.

He directed the House Chairman on Tertiary Education to attend the proposed meeting between ASUU and the ministries of Labour and Education scheduled to hold at 2 pm today (Thursday).

The Speaker pleaded with ASUU to call off the strike while the National Assembly deals with the issue in the coming weeks.

Prof. Ogunyemi, in his response to the request made by the Speaker to call off the strike, said he cannot decide to call off the strike on the spot, until the meeting scheduled for 2 pm, ends.

He noted that the 2009 agreement has a clause that allows for review in its agreement.

He questioned why the government has not called for a review instead of shutting out ASUU.

After further assurances from the Speaker, ASUU asked that the union be allowed till early next week to decide on calling off the warning strike.

See Photos Of The Meeting Below: 

NLC Urges FG To Re-Visit Electricity Privatization Agreement

 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Federal Government to re-visit the electricity privatization agreement and allow states, individuals and corporate organizations to generate and distribute electricity independent of the national grid.

President of the NLC, Mr Ayuba Waba made the request in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, where he spoke on the position of the organised labour over the Federal Government’s proposed electricity tariff adjustment.

According to him, if allowed to fly, increase in electricity tariff will make industries that are already paying too much for electricity, to fold up their businesses.

The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Saturday, approved the immediate review of electricity tariffs across the country.

A review of the new amount to be paid by various categories of electricity consumers indicates an increase that ranges from 59.7 per cent to 77.6 per cent – a development that many have kicked against.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), described the policy as obnoxious and injurious to the wellbeing of Nigerians.

“The party charges the Federal Government to immediately rescind the obnoxious and provocative policy and consult further with Nigerians before any such tariff hike,” a statement on its official handle read in part.


RELATED:

PDP Rejects Hike In Electricity Tariffs, Asks FG To Rescind ‘Obnoxious Policy’

States Have No Reason Not To Pay Minimum Wage, Says NLC


Speaking about other issues such as the new minimum wage, the NLC President noted that state governments do not have any reason not to pay the agreed sum of N30,000.

He added that 10 states have completed the process of negotiating with the Nigerian workers in their domain.