THE Nigeria Labour Congress has again warned the Federal Government against increasing electricity tariff until the FGN-Labour Committee on Electricity Tariff concludes its work and submits its report which would be adopted by the government and organised labour.
The union cautioned that it would deploy the industrial mechanisms granted in the laws for the defence of workers’ rights if the government failed to abide by the agreement to suspend electricity tariff hike for now.
This was contained in a statement on Friday by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, titled, ‘Labour is committed to freeze in increase of electricity tariff,’ issued in response to a report in a national daily (Not The PUNCH) that electricity tariff would rise by over a hundred per cent from January 2022.
The report was said to have quoted the remarks of the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure at the stakeholders’ engagement of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission held in Lagos on September 17, 2021, which was refuted by the presidential aide.
The organised labour had last month threatened to embark on industrial action if the FG failed to abide by the agreement to freeze electricity tariff hike until a committee set up to look into the issue submits its report.
While acknowledging that the Special Adviser’s rebuttal got to the NLC Secretariat, Wabba also stated that the SA expressed commitment to the engagements with the organised labour.
Regardless of the rebuttal, the Congress reiterated its position that the pact to freeze electricity tariff increase entered into by the FG and labour last year September “remains sacrosanct to Congress and would not admit flouting by any form of subterfuge.”
It stated that the existence of subsidy or lack of it in the electricity sector was one of the contentious matters the FG-Labour Committee on Electricity Tariff was mandated to handle.
The union said, “Congress equally wishes to reiterate that one of the agreements with the Federal Government on 28th September 2020, includes freezing further increases in electricity tariff until the FGN-Labour Committee on Electricity Tariff concludes its work and its report is submitted and adopted by the principals in the broad FG-Labour platform, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Presidents of NLC and TUC, respectively.
“This pact to freeze electricity tariff increase entered into by the principals last year September remains sacrosanct to Congress and would not admit flouting by any form of subterfuge.”
Accordingly, the Congress said it would keep a tab on the work of the Committee while urging it to hasten its work and present a report to the principals in the shortest time.
“Finally, Congress reaffirms its notice to the Federal Government issued on 30 August 2021 that should the government make true the swirling speculations by approving an increase in electricity tariff, Organized Labour would be left with no option than to deploy the industrial mechanisms granted in our laws for the defence of workers’ rights,” Wabba cautioned.