By David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
A rights group, International Society of Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law(Intersociety) has urged the organised labour in Nigeria not to only use industrial action such as strike to protest non increment of salaries, but also to protest when it suspects rigging in an election.
The group in a press statement made available to THISDAY in Awka and signed by Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi, chairman of board of trustees of the group said strike was a very powerful protest tool available to workers to protests anomalies in the society, naming election rigging as one of it.
It urged members of organised labour, including Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) not to wait until an unpopular government foisted on them through election rigging refuses to pay salaries before going on strike.
“A clear case in point was the broad-day manipulation by the INEC and security goons, of the last Saturday’s staggered governorship poll in Osun State, where the candidate of the PDP popularly returned by the people of the state had his thousands of valid votes deducted and deleted.
“A conscionable and public interest-oriented Labour Movement and their Civil Society Organisation, CSO counterparts should have downed tools until INEC reverses itself and returns the rightful winner,” they said.
The group further accused organised labour of not always declaring strike action in the interest of workers, but the selfish end of its leaders.
“We therefore call on the leaders of the labour and their CSO counterparts to be fair and sincere to the people of Nigeria and consider general welfare of all the citizens before ordering industrial action.
“Industrial actions in Nigeria must be detached from clannishness and pursuit of primordial interests and made all encompassing by being extended to critical and important issues of good governance and fiscal responsibility.
“In other words, such industrial actions must start from the root. Any industrial action anchored on “loot-mania” and “squander-mania” is collectively harmful, short-sighted and counter-productive.”
Intersociety seized the opportunity to announce the renaming of its headquarters in Onitsha as; Chima Ubani Centre. Ubani was a well-known rights activist and a member of NLC who died in 2005 while travelling by road to Maiduguri, Borno State for negotiations with government over a planned strike.