By Bimbola Oyesola and Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government has warned the United Labour Congress (ULC) against embarking on its proposed strike today, as it is not yet a Government recognised Federation of Trade Unions, even as the organised labour described the new body as a bunch of blackmailers.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment, in a press statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Bolaji Adebiyi said that the Government will not fold its arms and allow any group of persons take the law into their hands by brazenly threatening to commit economic sabotage by shutting down essential services in the Oil and Gas, Power, and Aviation Sectors as threatened by the promoters of ULC.
“The attention of the Federal Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige has been drawn to several media publications and statements signed by Mr. Didi Adodo on behalf of the Association – the United Labour Congress (ULC) – as its Secretary General. The statements gave the false impression that this Association is a Government recognized Federation of Trade Unions.”
He added further, “Nigerians know that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) – the oldest Federation of Trade Unions in Nigeria – has been factionalised since after her elections in 2014 and the Government through the Ministry of Labour and Employment had been making efforts to resolve the controversies that arose from the disputed elections. This to Government is democracy in the practice of Trade Unionism in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), have accused the yet to be registered United Labour Congress (UCL), led by Joe Ajaero, of blackmailing government with threat of strike in order to secure registration.
They also described the body as attention seeking, alleging that it was capitalising on the unstable security and industrial relation situation in the country to increase the tension and also give trade unionism a bad name.
Addressing a joint press conference at the Labour House, Abuja, yesterday, Presidents of NLC, Ayuba Wabba and TUC, Bobboi Kaigama, said the promoters of ULC; mainly from the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), were bad losers at the 10th Delegates Conference of NLC in March 2015.
“Despite listing twelve (12) demands in their 11th September press statement, we have no doubt that those behind the ultimatum were only hoping to blackmail the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to register their association as a central labour organisation, as they stated in their demand numbers 9-12.
“We have no doubt the officials of the Federal Ministry of Labour would deal with the situation as the laws of the country governing labour relations are very clear on the procedure guiding registrations of Trade Unions and trade union centres,” the two labour centres stated.
They, therefore, urged Nigerians to discountenance ULC’s strike threat saying that no unregistered organisations or individuals can hold the country to ransom.
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