The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and the Trade Union Congress disagreed on Wednesday over the plan by the TUC to go on strike as from September 23.
The minister while answering questions from State House correspondents at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, dismissed the seven-day ultimatum the TUC gave the Federal Government to reverse the price of petrol.
According to him, the letter written by the TUC should have been addressed to him, instead of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
But the TUC President, President, Quadri Olaleye, said the issue of petrol price was beyond the minister, adding that Ngige should wait till September 23 to see what would happen.
Also on Wednesday, the Nigeria Labour Congress issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse its decision on the hikes in electricity tariff and the fuel pump price or face civil unrest nationwide.
The congress handed down the warning at its Central Working Committee meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
In a communiqué read by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, the union said the ultimatum would take immediate effect, warning that it would mobilise its members nationwide for protests as from September 28.
In an interview, the NLC President said the national executive committee members and the state chapters as well as affiliates would meet on September 22 to decide on the strike action if the government failed to revert to the old prices by then.
“Today’s (Wednesday) decision on the ultimatum was taken by the Central Working Committee of the NLC. But by the expiration of the ultimatum, if the government fails to reverse the increase in electricity tariffs and fuel pump price, we would hold a meeting on September 28 and take a decision on a strike action,” he disclosed.
Government had two weeks ago increased the ex-depot price of petrol from N 138.62 to N147.67, prompting marketers to adjust their petrol prices to between N158 and N162 from N148 to N150 in August. The ex-depot price is the price at which government sells petrol to marketers.
Besides the fuel hike being the third within three months, it came at a time electricity distribution companies increased their tariffs.
The TUC gave its seven-day ultimatum in a letter addressed to the President and dated September 4, 2020.
The letter titled, “We cannot bear the burden any longer, issuance of seven days ultimatum,” was signed by Olaleye; and the Secretary-General, Musa Lawal.
TUC’s ultimatum letter to Buhari misplaced – FG
But Ngige, in the interview with the State House correspondents said the TUC’s letter was misplaced because it was addressed to the President, whom he claimed, is not recognised by the International Labour Organisation.
He gave an indication that the letter should have been addressed to him, and not Buhari.