President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba

John Shiklam in Kaduna

The controversy between labour unions and the Kaduna state government over the last phase of the ongoing verification exercise has taken a new dimension with the Nigerian Labour Congress ( NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) issuing a seven-day ultimatum to the government to stop the exercise or face a show-down.

But the state government has maintained that as employer, it has the right to verify and authenticate its employees.

The government also dismissed insinuations that the exercise was aimed at denying workers the right to belong to the unions.

The unions are particularly opposed to a clause in the form asking workers whether they will want to belong to a labour union or not.

Addressing a large crowd of workers after their meeting at the NLC secretariat in Kaduna on Wednesday, the President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and his TUC counterpart, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, said workers would be mobilised to resist any plan to deny them the right to remain members of the union.

The union leaders also asked the state government to pay the backlog of salaries being owed workers in the state or organised labour unions and civil society organization will shut down government offices.

The union leaders declared that any any governor who does not believe in labour unions and welfare of workers would be resisted and voted in 2019.

However, while reacting to the ultimatum, a senior government official who pleaded anonymity said the state government maintained that verification is anti labour is totally untrue.

According to him, “Their claim that the verification is anti labour is totally untrue. The trade union act says trade union membership is voluntarily. So we have not taken any anti union decision.

“It is legitimate for an employer to verify his employees, there is nothing illegal about it.

“This is the final phase of the verification. What they are complaining about is not about the verification, they are complaining about the clause on union membership in the form that workers are to fill.”