The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong against sabotaging its agreement with the Federal Government following its suspension of the planned nationwide strike.
The NLC alleged that Lalong has displayed favoritism in handling a critical item in the agreement that involves the illegal closure of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) headquarters with the support of the Nigeria Police Force.
This action by Lalong, according to the labour union has encouraged the group to conduct its own delegates’ conference, both zonally and nationally to confer legitimacy to their action.
Recall in August 2023, the police arrested the National President of NURTW, Tajudeen Baruwa, while ordering all the occupants of the national secretariat to vacate the building which was thereafter sealed.
In a communique signed by the NLC Secretary General Emmanuel Ugboaja and made available to THE WHISTLER on Thursday, the union said. “It is unfathomable that a Federal Minister of Labour, tasked with safeguarding the rights and interests of diverse stakeholders in our industrial relations landscape, would opt to take actions that could undermine the very foundations of our collective engagement.
“The Minister’s decision which is morally reprehensible and legally untenable, in a shocking turn of events, has thrown a spanner in the wheel of the implementation of the labour and federal government agreement by his unmasked partiality in handling a critical item in the agreement.
“This is the apparent government meddling in Trade Union matters by siding with people, who had illegally seized the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) headquarters with police Support.
“This group is now being encouraged to conduct its own delegates’ conference, both zonally and nationally to confer legitimacy to their action. This flagrant act not only constitutes an egregious intrusion into the internal affairs of a Union, in violation of ILO Conventions 87 and 98, but also represents a clear attempt to sabotage the recently ratified agreement between the labour movement and the federal government.”
Speaking further, the union said, “The NLC firmly rejects Minister Ialong’s endorsement of the holding of illegal conferences. Any deviation from the spirit of our prior agreement on this matter forebodes grave consequences.
“Also, with Lalong having descended into the arena and has stripped himself of the moral high ground and authority to continue mediating the process of implementing the October 2 agreement, we will therefore be highly constrained to attend any meeting he calls for the implementation of that agreement.
“Subsequently, it is inconceivable for non-union members to seize national leadership, bolstered by the coercive powers of the state, invoking the name of the president as a shield and sword.”