Labour begins nationwide protest over electricity tariff hike

The organised labour has commenced nationwide protests over the electricity tariff hike and removal of subsidy from the power sector by the Federal Government.

The National Treasurer of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Olatunji Ambali and the National Deputy President of the Trade Union Congress, Tommy Etim, who confirmed the planned protests harped on the reversal of the tariff hike to the subsidy era.

The protest, Politics Nigeria understands, is expected to lead to the shutdown of the Abuja headquarters of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the Ministry of Power and state offices of power distribution companies (DisCos).

Recall that NERC announced an electricity tariff for Band A customers in April. By the announcement, customers on the Band A classification are charged N225 per kilowatt-hour, up from the previous rate of N68/kWh — representing a 240 per cent increase.

This announcement generated reactions from Nigerians who condemned the increment considering the socio-economic condition of the country.

While NERC ordered a downward review of the tariff from 225/kWh to 206.8/kWh, the organised labour are insisting on a reversal to the old rate of N66/kWh.

The National Treasurer of the NLC, Ambali said, the union had fully mobilised its members and affiliates for the protest against the tariff increase.

“We commend the Federal Government on halting the cyber security levy; however, labour is fully mobilised for the electricity tariff hike protests across the country,” he told Punch.

Corroborating Ambali, the National Deputy President of the TUC, Etim, noted that the organised labour was ready for the nationwide protests at the NERC offices.

“Of course, Labour is fully mobilised for the protests which will start on Monday.

Also, a top official of the NLC, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the union, revealed: “Picketing would start today not only at the offices of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission but also in all the distribution companies across the nation.”

He said the mobilisation of workers and affiliate unions was ongoing, adding that meetings were held on Saturday and Sunday by the NLC and TUC to fine-tune strategies for the labour action.

“We enjoin the civil societies, organisations, market women, and students to join organised labour because it is a collective battle, and we are all collectively being afflicted by the wicked policies of the government,” he said.

“Collectively, we can push that back. As you can see, we have fought the issue of the cyber security levy and they have agreed to withdraw it.

“Together, if we fight this problem, one by one we will compel government’s actions that are anti-people to be pushed back. Don’t leave it to the NLC and the TUC but join us at the barricade so that together, we can compel the government to do the needful,” he appealed.

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