Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has condemned the plan of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to arrest labour leaders in the state as violation of trade union rights.
This was contained in a statement yesterday by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, to announce the decision of the National Executive Council (NEC) of Nigeriaâ€™s apex labour union on the matter.
Wabba stated that â€œitâ€™s disturbed and wish to use this medium to condemn in strong terms the information we have from Kaduna State that the government has sought to get a court process from a magistrate court to arrest all labour leaders in Kaduna.
â€œNEC has observed that his is in tandem with the principles of the rule of law and due process. The said court also has no jurisdiction over labour and industrial relations matters especially the issues in dispute in Kaduna which is related to mass sack of workers.
â€œWhile condemning this in a very strong term, NEC thought this approach is undemocratic and negates the principles of freedom of Association. NEC noted that the court processes lack transparency and fair hearing because the issues have not been brought to those that have been alleged. Therefore, NEC wants to put on notice that such approach will not address the challenges at hand. In fact, such approaches have contributed to where we are and therefore, NEC strongly feels that this is another attempt to undermine workers and trade union rights.
â€œIt is clearly a violation of the fundamental principle of the right of workers at work, in violation of the fundamental principle of convention 87 and 98 which Nigeria had ratified since 1960.â€
He stated that NEC has resolved that where this happens and workers and their unions are being intimidated that the leadership and all their unions across the country should symbolically set aside one day to protest and support the entire workers of Kaduna state who are under this attack.
Wabba stressed that â€œthere has been an increase in the violation of workers right and trade union rights and this is very fundamental because the right of a worker and citizens to freely assembly and advance their interest is something that the Nigerian constitution has recognised and given effect.â€
Therefore, he said, those processes must continue to be respected â€œfor us to have a peaceful industrial relation.