Tinubu cannot unilaterally remove fuel subsidy – TUC “it’s a joke taken too far”.

The Trade Union Congress VS Tinubu speech

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has kicked against the removal of fuel subsidy as announced by President Bola Tinubu during his inauguration ceremony on Monday, May 29.

The group in a statement released by its President and Secretary General, Festus Osifo and Nuhu Toro, says the announcement is a “joke taken too far”. 

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has advised President Bola Tinubu to proceed with caution and engage in robust dialogue and consultation with stakeholders before making any decisions regarding the delicate matter of subsidy withdrawal on petroleum products. The TUC acknowledges the peaceful transition of power and congratulates the new administration while emphasizing the importance of following the rule of law in seeking redress.

What was the TUC’s statement on Tinubu’s speech?

The TUC’s statement reflects their concern and surprise regarding the announcement of subsidy withdrawal and highlights the need for thorough consideration and resolution of related issues. “While listening to Tinubus’s inaugural Address, we were at first encouraged by his pledge to lead as a servant of the people (and not as a ruler) and to always consult and dialogue, especially on key and knotty national issues. We subsequently took aback, and was horrified, as he announced the withdrawal of subsidy on petroleum products.

“It is not for nothing the Buhari government pushed this to the new administration. But we expect the Tinubu government to be wise on such a sensitive issue and be more explicit in its pronouncement to avoid contradictory interpretations when comparing his written statement, what he said, and the provision in the 2023 appropriation act.

“We dare say that this is a very delicate issue that touches on the lives, if not very survival, of particularly the working people. Hence, it should be treated with the utmost caution, and should be preceded by robust dialogue and consultation with the representatives of the working people, including professionals, market people, students, and the poor masses.

TUC’s demands to President Tinubu

“Accordingly, we hereby demand that President Tinubu should tarry awhile to give room for robust dialogue and consultation and stakeholders engagement. Just as he opined in his speech until all issues and questions; and there are a host of them, are amicably considered and resolved. Nigerian Workers and indeed masses must not be made to suffer the inefficiency of successive governments.

TUC’s Worries on the fuel subsidy

“We are also worried that in his speech President Tinubu failed to delve into or reveal his plans on how to tackle and address the issue of poor and unchecked deterioration in industrial relations, particularly in the education, health and judiciary sectors, which result prolonged strike and Industrial actions and their attendant adverse effects on society and the economy. A case in point is the current nationwide strike by JOHESU.

“If there is anything for the new administration to hurriedly address from day one in office, it is the abysmal N30,000 minimum wage that has since been eroded by the problematic monetary and fiscal policies of the government.

“The Labour Movement is open and ready to dialogue with the Tinubu administration on the fuel subsidy issue. We urge it in the interest of the country and its people not to dictate on such a matter or engage in manipulating the outcome of such consultations.

TUC’s appreciation and suggestions

“The TUC identifies with the new government’s declaration that it will defend the nation from terror and all forms of criminality that threaten peace and stability. We suggest that in its promised review of our security architecture, a more robust method of defending the country by involving the mass of the people and empowering them to defend themselves when attacked by bandits and terrorists.

“We are encouraged by the new government’s promise to engage in job creation, food security and to end extreme poverty. In this, we urge it to involve organized labour, employers of labour, professional organizations and the informal sector.

“Congress welcomes the promise to make electricity accessible and affordable to businesses and homes and, suggests that the Tinubu government begins by stopping the periodic arbitrary increases in the price of electricity imposed by the distribution companies while regulatory and consumer agencies look away.

“This new administration cannot be seen to be speaking from both sides of its mouth, we urge President Tinubu to be a President with a human face.

“Like always, we will stand by the people and their interests. Nigerian workers are hardworking and have remained consistent with productive work regardless of harsh government policies, poor governance, and mismanagement of resources that has placed us in these difficult living conditions”

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