Workers Day: “Life has worsened considerably under Tinubu” – NLC, TUC lament

As Nigeria observes International Workers’ Day, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have expressed grave concerns over the deteriorating quality of life under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.

In separate statements, representatives from both labour unions highlighted the harsh economic realities workers and citizens face. 

Benson Upah, NLC’s Head of Information and Public Affairs, pointed to policies such as fuel subsidy removal, currency devaluation, and electricity tariff hikes as crucial contributors to the hardships endured by Nigerians.

According to Upah, these policies have led to significant decreases in the value of the Naira, soaring inflation rates, and mounting economic pressures on ordinary citizens. 

He called on President Tinubu to reconsider these policies and prioritize the welfare of Nigerian workers.

His words: “Life has worsened considerably. In fact, the most painful aspect of it is that there is no silver lining in the sky yet. When workers were trying to get used to this ugly situation, the government slammed them with a new energy tariff of 250 per cent, and on the other side, for the workers, nothing has changed.

“So, life has been very terrible for workers in the past year. We wish it could be better.

“To go to specifics: the ill-advised removal of fuel subsidy, the floating of the Naira, and the hike in the tariff of electricity; these three major policies have considerably reduced the value of the Naira.

“Inflation at the moment is 33.2 per cent, and food inflation is a minimum of 40 per cent. The devaluation of the Naira. After these policy announcements. The value of the Naira decreased by about 200 per cent, and after a while, Nigerians started hoping that the Naira would regain its strength and stability. There were other storms.”

Similarly, TUC President Festus Osifo, speaking at a Pre-May Day Lecture in Abuja, emphasized the need for governments, both federal and stateto prioritize workers’ welfare. 

He criticized government policies that neglected the interests of workers and called for a shift towards putting people first in policymaking.

Osifo cited the arbitrary increase in electricity tariffs without proper consultation with stakeholders as an example of policies that adversely impact workers’ lives.

“Today, we have experienced various policy mismatches and summersaults where people’s welfare is put at the bottom of the radar.

“A case in point was the increase in electricity tariff without following due process and without consultation with various stakeholders who would have been involved in taking critical decisions that affect the lives of workers,” he lamented.

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