The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) held a virtual meeting on Tuesday, 25th May 2021. The virtual meeting was anchored from NLC National Headquarters, Abuja. The NEC comprises all Presidents, General Secretaries and Treasurers of NLC’s affiliate unions; Chairpersons and Secretaries of State Councils and the FCT; and members of the National Administrative Council.
The National Executive Council of the NLC considered three major issues during its meeting. The issues considered by NEC include the review of the recent industrial action and protests in Kaduna State against the mass sack of workers by the Kaduna State Government, the recent proposal by the Nigeria Governors Forum for an astronomical hike in the price of refined petroleum products by about three hundred percent and also the preparations of Congress for participation in the Zonal Public Hearing for the Review of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Considerations of NEC:
- Review of the Recent Industrial Action and Protest in Kaduna State over the Mass Sack of Workers by Kaduna State Government
The NEC considered as successful the recent industrial action and protest against the illegal mass sack of workers by the Kaduna State Government. The NEC commended the unprecedented solidarity by workers all over the country. The NEC also noted the willingness of workers all over the country to continue to show solidarity with the workers of Kaduna State in the spirit of “Injury to one is injury to all”.
The NEC also noted with dismay the visitation of violence on harmless workers during the industrial protest in Kaduna State by agents of the state government. The NEC also viewed with great concern the continued torrents of threats and innuendoes cum other adversarial actions against labour leaders and workers by the Kaduna State Governor. The NEC while commending the readiness and resoluteness of Congress leadership to continue to engage the Kaduna State Government on an amicable resolution of the industrial situation in a manner consistent with the law especially Section 20 of the Labour Act, observed that the disposition of the Kaduna State Governor remains cantankerous and anomalous to negotiation in good faith.
The NEC-in-Session also viewed the proposal by the Nigeria Governors Forum for a three hundred percent increase in the price of petrol as the height of provocation, arbitrariness, detachment and insensitivity to the current economic realities in the country and the extreme hardship that Nigerians especially workers are going through. The NEC also noted that there is currently no negotiation with government over fuel price increase. The NEC recalled that the last meeting with Government in February 2021 was adjourned sine die. Since then, no other meeting has been called by government. The NEC recalled and reiterated the decision it took on 17th February 2021 after the last meeting between labour and the Federal Government team on fuel price increase.
The NEC reviewed the preparation of Congress for appearance and presentation of workers’ demands at the Zonal Public Hearings on the Review of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The NEC re-echoed the resolve of Nigerian workers to steadfastly defend the retention of the core Labour issues of Labour administration, the National Minimum Wage, Pension and Industrial Relations in the Exclusive Legislative List of the Nigerian Constitution. The NEC also deliberated on how to robustly promote autonomy for local government, autonomy for the judiciary and autonomy for the state legislatures during its engagement at the Zonal hearings. The NEC also stated that issues including those canvassed in the foregoing and others that promote good governance and inclusive national development and as already captured in a published Memorandum to be submitted by representatives of Congress at the Zonal Public Hearings would be strongly advocated for at the Zonal Public Hearings.
Resolutions of the National Executive Council
A. Industrial Crisis in Kaduna State:
- The NEC resolved to continue to keep its doors open for dialogue and amicable resolution of the industrial crisis occasioned by the insensitive and illegal mass sack of workers by the Kaduna State Government; and
- The NEC resolved that in case the Kaduna State Government remained adamant and recalcitrant or continues to pursue the path of war, threat and punitive actions against workers and their interests, that it had given the National Administrative Council (NAC) the power to re-activate the suspended industrial action in Kaduna State and also call for the withdrawal of services of all workers in Nigeria without any further notice.
B. Proposal by Nigeria Governors Forum to Increase the Price of Fuel
- The NEC reiterated that it still stands solidly by its decision taken at its meeting which took place on 17th February 2021 to reject further increases in the price of refined petroleum products particularly the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS); The NEC also re-echoed its decision that the only sustainable way out of the crisis of fuel importation and associated dislocations in the downstream petroleum sub sector is for government to rehabilitate all four public refineries in Nigeria and build new ones;
- The NEC resolved that any decision to increase by even one cent the price of refined petroleum products especially PMS will attract an immediate withdrawal of services by Nigerian workers all over the country without any further notice; and
- The NEC resolved to write officially to the Federal Government of Nigeria conveying the plight of Nigerian workers, the concerns of Congress and the resolutions of the NEC on the matter of fresh proposals for an increase in the pump price of fuel especially as informed by the stance of the Nigeria Governors Forum.
C. Review of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
- The NEC called on the National Assembly to retain Labour administration, National Minimum Wage, Pension and Industrial Relations in the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution.
- The NEC directed the full mobilization of workers at all the Zonal Public Hearings to lend weight to the demands and aspirations of Nigerian workers in the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni Comrade Ismail Bello
Ag. General Secretary
25th May 2021