FG outlaws United Labour Congress, faults strike move
NUBIFIE returns to NLC
The Federal Government has declared the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) as the only recognised central workers’ organisation unions in the country.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, while faulting calls for a nationwide strike by the unregistered United Labour Congress (ULC), said the Federal Government has not registered any other trade union apart from the NLC and TUC.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), has distanced itself from the strike being called by the ULC.
Its newly elected President, Abdurasheed Lukman, said the union was back to the NLC. Ngige accused the promoters of the group for giving a false impression that the ULC was a government-recognised federation of trade unions.
“The statements and letters issued in the last few weeks had given the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum, stating that some trade unions it ‘claims’ were its affiliates will go on strike over some issues of national importance.
“Some of the issues include that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment should set up a task force immediately to carry out factories inspection; that government should review the privatisation of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and that the Army and Police should withdraw their men in different work places they are posted, as they intimidate and harass workers in such establishments.”
Ngige, however, described the group’s demand for a ‘registration certificate’ as laughable and reminded the promoters that they are not yet a government recognised federation of trade unions and therefore, cannot speak on behalf of any trade union.
But Lukman said: “The new leadership of the union states categorically that it is not aware of and will not partake in any planned industrial action as called by the ULC. The process of engaging in industrial action is well stipulated in the laws of the land and rules of engagement.
“The union just emerged from its delegates’ conference and a new leadership emerged. There are a number of issues that beg for attention over happenings in our industry; shutting the financial industry at this critical period of our economic life is, therefore, not an option.
“The affiliation of NUBIFIE to ULC was done in the context of the procedures and constitution of our union and the congress in session passed a resolution for the return of NUBIFIE to its original affiliation, NLC as contained in its constitution.”
But the Deputy President of the ULC, who is also the President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese, told The Guardian that the group does not need the approval of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to form a trade centre.
Speaking, presidents of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba and TUC, Bobboi Kaigama, said the group does not have any right to call for a strike because it was not a registered trade centre.
While agreeing to individual rights to belong to union of their choice, Wabba argued that such rights must be within the ambit of the law regulating trade unionism in the country.
Kaigama submitted that most of the unions the ULC claimed to be their members were either members of the NLC nor the TUC, saying no union has conducted a delegates’ conference to decide whether it was pulling out of its present centre, as required by law.