By Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vowed to give more trouble to the political class who after failing to fix Nigeria’s health sector, run to other countries to access quality healthcare services.
The Congress said it would achieve this by mobilising its counterparts in over 163 countries to frustrate Nigerian political elite who embezzle the country’s resources and run to other countries.
The NLC President, Ayuba Waba, gave out their intention when the officials of the Medical and Health Workers Union, led by its President, Josiah Biobelemoye, gave him a surprise reception at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, while returning from Denmark yesterday.
NLC president was at the meeting in Denmark to elected President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
ITUC is the largest trade union federation in the world and represents 207 million workers across the globe with 331 labour centres in 163 countries. Wabba is the first African to be elected President of ITUC. The election is for a term of four years.
Waba said: “Initially, we are struggling alone, but now we have over 163 countries that we can give instruction and they will extend solidarity to Nigerian workers.
“It is also high time our politicians, looters and elites realised that once they loot our resources, we are going to liaise with the airport workers, once they are leaving the country to another destination. They should be sure that we will mobilise people to turn them back.
“They must stay here and fix our economy and make Nigeria work. Therefore, having 207 million workers under the banner of the ITUC, and giving us the mandate to provide leadership for them, it means that it will be well for all Nigerian workers, and those issues that have made us slaves in our own country must continue to receive appropriate attention.”
While insisting that the political elite should either fix the health sector or face more trouble in the years ahead, the NLC president said: “When they go outside this country to access quality healthcare without fixing our healthcare, we will tell our counterparts out there that if they go with headache, they will come back with hypertension because that is not what we expect.”
He vowed that the NLC would fight the recent introduction of ‘no work, no pay’ policy by the federal government to a stand-still, noting that such policy has no place in modern industrial relations.
Wabba, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to “actually give space for consultation. Let him not only hear from one side-his appointees-who, in most cases, have failed in their responsibilities.
“He should also hear the perspectives of the unions and the workers, he will realise that where the truth lies.”
According to the NLC President, “The people who have failed in their responsibilities to this country, resort in feeding the various strata of the country with lies.
“I say so because the issue of ‘no work, no pay’ has no place in modern day industrial relations. The law on ‘no work, no pay’, in Nigeria has its basis from a military decree. That is Decree 54 of 1977. No government in Nigeria has ever implemented it because you cannot implement the law in isolation. Therefore, we are going to engage that process very vigorously.”
Wabba, therefore, described his becoming the President of ITUC as “a victory for all of us, particularly Nigerian workers. This also calls for more action and proactive approach so that workers around the world, despite the dynamics of change in technology, can survive all situations.”