By Bimbola Oyesola and Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Nigeria’s Organised Labour yesterday, warned Federal Government that it would not accept the 10 percent increase slammed on carbonated drinks as it would lead to the collapse of the sector and create massive job losses.
The two unions in the sector, Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) and National Union of Food Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) said they are mobilising their organs’ meetings to take appropriate action on government new decision.
The unions said though they may not preempt the organs, the reaction may be in form of protests and total strike with the support of the trade centres like the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) that had earlier kicked against it.
President of FOBTOB, Jimoh Oyibo, told Daily Sun that the union has initially planned a protest but was advised against it by the employers body which thought that dialogue with government would yeild more positive action.
Members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in a joint press conference last December advised the Federal Government against the increase which it said would further frustrate the manufacturers effort at supporting the revival of the economy.
Oyibo speaking with Daily Sun lamented that the increase among others would cause increase in the cost of the products, lead to reduction in the purchasing power of the masses, massive job losses, reduction in production capacity and total closure of the companies.
“Government did not give a deep thought to the aftermath effect, we would not relax, we are likely going to protest or go on strike and show our displeasure to the supervising ministry, the Ministry of labour and employment.
In its reaction, NUFBTE said the action was counterproductive and tantamount to government’s insensitivity to the plight of the Manufacturers who are presently finding it difficult to operate in the country.
The General Secretary of the union, Mike Olanrewaju, said the union will study the situation and react appropriately.
“This is government’s insensitivity to the plight of Nigerian workers, it will cost nothing less than 2,000 to 3,000 direct job loss within a week as the companies would be forced to reduce production or not produce at all. We are not going to keep quiet, the NLC is being carried along, the leadership of the union will ponder on it to know the next line of action,” he said.
Speaking during a public presentation of the 2022 Appropriation Act, yesterday, in Abuja, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, recalled that the new policy which in the Finance Act was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 31, 2021. She said that rinkers of non-alcoholic drinks and carbonated products will have to pay a little more as the government has introduced N10 excise duty per litre of all non-alcoholic and sweetened beverages.