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
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