Fuel price increases and other policies that negatively affect people experiencing poverty have been condemned by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which sees them as acts of aggression against Nigerian workers and the general populace. The NLC argues that impoverishing workers and pushing more people into dire living conditions does not reflect sound economic management.
Speaking at a four-day program for NLC leaders in the southern state councils held in Lagos, President Joe Ajaero, represented by Prince Adewale Adeyanju, the Deputy President of Congress and President-General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, emphasized the responsibility of trade union leaders to stand up for the rights of Nigerian workers and the people.
Ajaero stated that various governments in Nigeria have callously violated the rights of Nigerians without remorse, with politicians joining forces against workers and the masses without facing the consequences. He expressed concern that governance in Nigeria often contradicts its purpose, as it has become a tool for inflicting suffering rather than serving the people.
The federal government’s recent sharp increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, was cited as an example of the government’s failure to engage in meaningful dialogue with stakeholders. The decision to withdraw petroleum subsidies without implementing alternative measures to mitigate the expected impact on the populace was viewed as an extreme action that exacerbated the hardships faced by workers and the masses. Ajaero argued that such policies are evidence of the Nigerian government’s war against its people.
The NLC president stressed the urgency of addressing this onslaught and preventing further impoverishment of Nigerians. He highlighted that policies resulting in the suffering of workers need to align with sound economic management. Ajaero called for an end to the sacrifice of poor workers for the benefit of the wealthy, emphasizing that employers’ continued abuse of workers’ rights and privileges contributes to the erosion of workers’ well-being.
Ajaero urged the NLC to take decisive action, emphasizing that trade union leaders cannot abandon the workers and the people to their fate. He noted the need to challenge the violations of labor laws, the denial of workers’ rights in various workplaces, and the non-payment of salaries by governments at different levels.
In conclusion, Ajaero stated that a nation with a large population of poor people and a growing number of working poor is a recipe for trouble. He called on workers and comrades to unite and end these injustices, asserting that the NLC can confront the current misconduct and prevent its continuation.