As government and organized labour in the country set to meet today on fashioning a way out of the removal of oil subsidy, ahead of their planned strike action on Wednesday, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Monday, described action of the organized labour as “crying more than the bereaved.”
The South west chairman of NUPENG, Tokunbo Korodo who dropped this admonition on a radio program, “Citizens Forum on Day break Show” on Rockcity FM Abeokuta, said the union and its sister body, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) were more concern than any other union in taking position on if the subsidy removal was justified or not.
Korodo noted that “the industry can not be turned into battle field for reason not justified. We have listened to government this morning and we have also restated our position why we are supporting the government at this time.
“We are the most concerned in this matter and you don’t cry more than the bereaved. We have made our position known and we shall continue to monitor the government to see if they are going to derail from what they have told us to do, then we are going to take them on “, Korodo who also doubles as the Lagos State chairman of NUPENG said.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Muhammed who also called in to the program said the coming meeting with the organized labour was normal for the government to engage them in dialogue and afford the opportunity to present to labour why the step was taken.
On why the present administration is now taking decision, it rejected as opposition party in 2012, the Minister said, the development “is like comparing apple with oranges. Remember that oil price was over $100 per barrel in 2012, but now $40 per barrel. Also the subsidy was not included this year’s budget, but was not so in 2012.”
However, despite the palliative measures mentioned by the minister to cushion the effect of the deregulation, callers opined that there is need for the government to increase the country’s minimum wage, which the Minister said the government was not avers to.