• Says its affiliates and state chapters will play active roles in the protest marches to DISCOs
• The protest is being organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and civil society allies of organised labour such as the UAD, in all the states of the federation, on Monday February 8.
United Action for Democracy condemns the 45% hike in electricity tariff which commenced on February 1.
UAD described the sharp increase as an anti-poor people policy which will only compound the already hard life that has become the lot of working class-people, as the global economic crisis bites harder.
In a press statement issued on yesterday, the coalition of 37 Civil Society Organisations spread across the country, informed that, its affiliates and state chapters will play active roles in the protest marches to DISCOs being organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and civil society allies of organised labour such as the UAD, in all the states of the federation, on Monday February 8.
Noting that the tariff hike is in contempt of a subsisting court order of May 28, 2015 by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Comrade Baba Aye, the UAD National Convener pointed out that, this is a further demonstration of the fact that the “rule of law” is essentially respected by the state, only when it is directed against the poor working masses. “The bosses and their governments”, he said, “choose to disregard court rulings that limit attacks on the welfare and wellbeing of poor people”.
UAD called on the trade unions not to relent in the struggle. “This fightback must not be limited to a one-day protest march, for us to defeat this anti-poor people policy”, according to the United Action for Democracy. The spontaneous protests in different cities against crazy electricity bills and poor service delivery last year shows that the mass of working people and youth have the will to fight against and defeat this draconian increment. The people united, cannot be defeated. What is needed, the UAD said, is organisation and tenacity, for which the trade unions are best placed to provide leadership.
United Action for Democracy thus called for rolling protest marches, beyond the February 8 picketing, until the tariff hike is reversed by the National Electricity Regulation Commission.
UAD thus called on the NLC and TUC to disregard the appeal earlier made on Sunday by the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), pleading with the trade unions to shelve the nationwide rallies. ANED’s claim that this harsh hike is “necessary…for improvement of electricity infrastructure” loses sight of the state of pauperisation of poor working people that are meant to bear the burden of a sharp price increment.
The current fightback to reverse electricity tariff must thus be part of a broader struggle. The official price for House Hold Kerosene (HHK) was recently jacked up from N50 to N83! Meanwhile, the state governors have vowed (with the tacit support of President Muhammadu Buhari) to resist an increase in the national minimum wage which is due for upward review this year. All these are part of the anti-poor people agenda of the ruling elite, to make working class-people bear the burden of the systemic crisis of capitalism, according to the UAD.
The coalition thus called on the NLC and TUC to formulate a Working People’s Charter of Demands as a fighting platform, around which trade unions, civic organisations and the mass of working class-people will organise massive and systematic resistance to the current spate of anti-poor policies. While fully supporting the battle against electricity tariff hike on February 8 and beyond, only such a holistic struggle, the UAD National Convener said, can stem the tide of attacks against poor people, and lay the basis for system change.
Drawing from the words of Murtala Muhammad, UAD asserts that, “this is the time to rethink, to reflect and to act”. Such action, the UAD added, must be one of unwavering struggle against the anti-poor agenda of the politicians and big business men, and for a better Nigeria, where working people’s democracy reigns.
The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) on Sunday in Kano, appealed to the Organised Labour to shelve its planned protest over electricity tariffs increase on Monday