Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
After years of division, the two factional labour unions in Nigeria – Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the United Labour Congress (UCL) have resolved to end their disagreement and to work together as one labour centre to protect the interest of the Nigerian Workers.
The decision to chart a common cause emerged yesterday during a reconciliation meeting between the two groups.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba said: “After several years of dispute, the strain between the NLC and UCL has finally been resolved.
“The NLC and UCL will always collaborate to defend the interest of the Nigerian workers.”
He said that the UCL will henceforth be reintegrated into the main body of the NLC and its structures collapsed into the NLC.
“The NLC president consequently announced the ULC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero as the new deputy president of the NLC.
In his reaction, Ajaero said “We are back to our house; we are back to our family and we are now stronger. Events of the next few days will show that we are back.”
The labour movement split into two factions after the NLC’s elections in 2015.
However, in a joint statement signed by Wabba and Ajaero and titled “Our bond of brotherhood shall never be broken,” both labour leaders described what happened yesterday as a celebration of the reconciliation between the NLC and ULC.
Part of the statement reads: “the leadership of the NLC and the ULC wish to announce to the world that the strain within the ranks of organised labour in Nigeria has been resolved. The NLC led by Comrade Ayuba Wabba has fully reconciled with the ULC led by Comrade Joe Ajaero”.
After the conduct of leadership election in the NLC at the 10th National Delegates Conference in 2015, a misunderstanding arose between some affiliates of congress.
Efforts by labour leaders such as the pioneer President of the NLC Comrade Hassan Sunmonu and a former president of the NLC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to resolve the issue failed.
Wabba who read the statement said that the two sides out of the determination to resolve their misunderstanding resorted to direct discussions aimed at ending the rift.
“The outcome of this quiet but sustained effort at making the peace is the fruit of the reconciliation that we are celebrating today. It is to the credit of the leadership of the NLC and the UCL that the bond of solidarity was never broken even at the height of misunderstanding.
“The NLC and ULC always cooperated and collaborated in defending Nigerian workers. This was the experience during negotiations for the new national minimum wage,” he said.
Wabba said with the reconciliation, the leadership and structures of the ULC have been reintegrated into the NLC.
He said that under the reconciliation Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two leadership, the modus operandi for this re-integration and ancillary issues were spelt out to the satisfaction of both parties.