The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has identified Kogi, Kaduna and Ogun states as states that are most unfriendly to Nigerian workers in terms of policies and treatment of labour matters.
The Congress particularly said that the sack of 22,000 teachers by the Kaduna State Government in 2018 without recourse to extant laws, and in total disregard to existing collective bargaining agreements and social dialogue procedure would not be forgotten in a very long time to come.
President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at the opening of the 12th National Delegates Conference of the NLC.
Wabba who was speaking on the state of the nation and the role played so far by the Congress lamented that about 9000 workers from ministries, departments and agencies were also disengaged by the state government.
“The state government till date refused to pay their retirement benefits including their severance package, gratuity and pension,” he said.
According to him, the labour union responded to the mass sack of the teachers by mobilising workers in Kaduna to protest the injustice meted out to teachers and workers in the state.
“The State government responded with disproportionate force against protesting workers but we held our ground. After weeks of a sustained campaign, the state government shifted its position by allowing the sacked workers to retake a new competency test,” Wabba said
He however said that, Congress’s position was that the sack of the teachers did not follow due process and those willing to go should be paid their entitlements.
“The Kaduna state government has remained adamant,” he said.
While noting that the actions of the Kaduna State government were reported to the International Labour Organization (ILO) during the 2018 ILO Conference in Geneva, Wabba said workers have been directed not to support any governor that treat workers as slaves.
Speaking on violation of the right of workers to organize by the Kogi State government, the NLC President said in addition to owing salaries, the state government has been perpetrating diverse injustices against workers in the state.
“In 2016, the state government purportedly proscribed the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), at the Kogi State University at Anyigba,” he said
“Comrade Abdulmumuni Yakubu, the branch chairman of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) was murdered at the height of an industrial dispute with the Kogi State government. Till date, the perpetrators of the heinous crime are yet to be brought to book to pay for their crime.”
These, he said were also reported to the International Labour Organization (ILO) 2018 Conference.
Wabba lamented that despite receiving billions in bailout funds, Ogun State government continues to owe its workers arrears of salaries.
According to him, workers of the Tai Solarin College of Education who have been owed arrears of salaries and pension for close to a decade were the most affected.
The Ogun State government, he added had also purportedly proscribed the Senior Staff Union in Colleges of Education, Nigeria (SSUCEON) branch in the College of Education.
“Many workers of the Tai Solarin College of Education have fallen victims of avoidable ailments and even untimely death as a result of the victimisation by the Ogun State government,” he said.
“The government has also refused to remit all statutory deduction from the wages of workers in the states to the unions for the past three years.”
Speaking on the suspension of the state’s chairman of NLC, Akeem Ambali from his employment by the state government since 2015, Wabba said the Congress under his leadership had approached Ogun State government a number of times to reverse ‘this unjust decision’ but had always met a brick wall.
“In our letters, we reminded Governor Amosun that Nigeria’s 1999 constitution grants freedom of association to workers and that the provisions of our Trade Union Act and ILO Conventions protect the right to unionisation,” he said.
For refusing to honour an agreement on the utilisation of the bailout fund, the NLC President said the Congress “shall immediately from this conference schedule a day of protest in Ogun State.”
Credit: International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR)