The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) Plan Nationwide Strike in Response to Fuel Subsidy Removal

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) Plan Nationwide Strike in Response to Fuel Subsidy Removal

In a significant move that has sent ripples across the nation, The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) issued a directive to its members this Sunday, urging them to suspend their services throughout the country. The call for action has come in the wake of the Nigerian government’s abrupt decision to terminate the existing fuel subsidy scheme.

The mandate was officially issued in a notice endorsed by the acting general secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees, Dominic Igwebike. He implored all the union members to adhere to the instruction and cease their work duties beginning from the early hours of the upcoming Wednesday.

President Bola Tinubu’s declaration prompted this development during his inaugural address on Monday at Eagle Square, Abuja. The President made it clear that the current petroleum subsidy system would be discontinued, justifying his decision on the grounds that the regime was unsustainable in the long run.

A consequence of the termination of the subsidy scheme was the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) instructing all its outlets to sell fuel in the price range of N480 to N570 per litre. This marks a nearly 200% escalation from the initial price which was below N200 per litre.

In response to this drastic policy shift, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Friday stated its intentions to organize a nationwide protest the coming Wednesday, provided the NNPCL does not revise the recently implemented pricing system in the oil sector. The Nigerian Union of Journalists also expressed its solidarity and intention to participate in the proposed strike action on Wednesday.

On Sunday, the National Union of Electricity Employees sent out a letter to its members explaining their stance on this issue. They explained that their call to action was precipitated by the NLC’s emergency national executive council (NEC) meeting that took place on June 2 at the Labour House, Abuja. During this meeting, the sudden removal of the fuel subsidy was discussed, a move which the NUEE contends has inflicted untold hardship on Nigerians and spurred inflation in the economy.

The letter further elaborates: “All National, State, and Chapter executives are thereby requested to begin the mobilization of our members in total compliance with this directive”. The suspension of services is to commence from 0.00 hours on Wednesday, June 7, 2023. The union members are encouraged to cooperate with the State Executive Councils (SEC) of the Congress in their respective states, in order to ensure a successful execution of this action.

Nigeria’s expenditure on petrol subsidies exceeded N4 trillion last year, a staggering amount considering it surpassed the country’s spending on crucial sectors like healthcare and education. A chorus of experts has maintained that such a heavy financial burden was not feasible in the long term. The immediate past administration under President Muhammadu Buhari, for instance, had only allocated funds for the petrol subsidy until 30 June of this year. It then left the onus of the final decision on the subsidy issue to the incoming administration.

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