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We don’t know; FG tell Igwe Achezie led ULC

Ministry of Labour and employment has denied membership of a breakaway labour union led by Mr. Igwe Achezie, comprising the union of electricity workers and the union of oil workers.

Daily Times, recall that the body emerged during the Nigerian Labour Congress NLC demand of Minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

Briefing the press Thursday in Abuja, the minister of labour and employment Senator Chris Ngige, announced that the attention of the Federal Minister of Labour and Employment, 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.

According to Dr. Ngige,the statements gave the false impression that this Association is a Government recognized Federation of Trade Unions.

That the statement and letters issued in the last few weeks include those that gave the Federal Government a 14 – day ultimatum stating that some Trade Unions it “claims” as affiliates will go on strike over some issues which are of national importance.

Again, that the issues include that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment should set up a task force immediately to carry out factory inspection;

that Government should review the privatization of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), and that the Army and Police should withdraw their men in different work places where they are currently stationed as they intimidate and harass workers in such establishment. Also the ULC demands the immediate release of her “Registration Certificate”.

The Minister said that “Our immediate reaction is to remind the promoters of this Association that they are NOT yet a Federal Government recognized Federation of Trade Unions and hence cannot speak on behalf of any Trade Union.

The Trade Unions Act, CAP T14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, is explicitly clear on how a group of Trade Unions can coalesce to form a Federation of Trade Unions.

Section 35(1)(b) states inter alia “A Federation of Trade Unions may be registered by the Registrar if … it is made up of 12 or more Trade Unions none of which SHALL have been a member of another registered Federation of Trade Unions.” The promoters of ULC should fulfil this requirement to qualify to be registered.

To call out workers on “Essential Services” for a national strike without any major trade dispute with their direct employers will be tantamount to blatant violation of our extant Labour Laws and International Labour Standards.

Dr Ngige further, noted that every 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.

Also he stressed that group of Trade Unions is free to ask for registration as a Federation if they are dissatisfied with their present Federation.

However, they must satisfy the conditions precedent of having 12 NEW Trade Unions that were not previously affiliate of any of the existing Federations. In this case, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC),

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Government will not fold her hands 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.

Members of the Trade Unions who are sympathetic to the ULC mentioned in the Press Statement are advised to go about their duties in the interest of a peaceful industrial relations environment and for the good of our national economy. Government will ensure security in all work places”.

Idu Jude Abuja

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