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NLC, TUC Demand Electricity Hike Reversal by May 31

The controversy stems from the National Electricity Regulatory Commission's (NERC) approval of an increased tariff for Band A customers—from N66 to N225 per kWh—on April 3. This hike sparked widespread public outcry and calls for its reversal.

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have issued a stern ultimatum to the federal government, demanding the reversal of the recent electricity tariff hike by May 31. This ultimatum was declared in a communiqué released in Abuja on Monday, following a joint emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.

The controversy stems from the National Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (NERC) approval of an increased tariff for Band A customers—from N66 to N225 per kWh—on April 3. This hike sparked widespread public outcry and calls for its reversal.

On May 13, members of organised labour staged protests at the NERC headquarters, the Federal Ministry of power, and the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) in Abuja. These protests, demanding a rollback of the tariff hike, were replicated across various parts of Nigeria.

The labour unions denounced the government’s decision as “unjust and burdensome,” criticizing it for disregarding the economic hardships faced by the masses. The communiqué stated, “The NEC once again vehemently condemns the unilateral increase in electricity tariffs by the authorities. This action, taken without due consideration for the economic hardships faced by the masses and the provisions of the law, is deemed unjust and burdensome.”

The unions demanded an immediate reversal of the tariff hike and the categorization of customers into bands, asserting that these measures have exacerbated the suffering of Nigerian workers and citizens. They have given the NERC and the federal government until May 31, 2024, to meet these demands.

Should the government fail to comply, the unions warned of significant repercussions, including the mobilisation of workers for peaceful protests and industrial actions to advocate for social justice and workers’ rights.

In addition to addressing the electricity tariff issue, the NLC and TUC reiterated their demand for the federal government to finalize the new national minimum wage fixing process by May 31. “We need an agreement that will genuinely reflect the true value of Nigerian workers’ contributions to the nation’s development and the current crisis of survival facing Nigerians as a result of government’s policies,” the communiqué emphasized.

The NEC reaffirmed its commitment to protecting workers’ interests and welfare in the negotiation process, urging all councils in states that have not yet fully implemented the N30,000 national minimum wage and its consequential adjustments to issue a joint two-week ultimatum to their respective state governments to avert industrial action.

As the deadline approaches, the NLC and TUC stand firm in their resolve to ensure that the federal government addresses these critical issues, aiming to alleviate the economic strain on Nigerian workers and citizens.

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