By Joan Nwangu
The Federal Government said on Thursday that the United Labour Congress (ULC) was not a yet a registered and recognised Federation of the Trade Unions in the country.
Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said this at a news briefing in Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the ULC had earlier issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government, which expired on Sept. 8.
The association further issued another seven-day strike notice that would expire on Sept. 15 with a threat to shut down the oil, power and the aviation sectors.
The demand includes that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment should set up a task force immediately to carry out factory inspection; that Government should review the privatisation of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Others are that the Army and Police should withdraw their men in different work places where they are currently stationed as they intimidate and harass workers in such establishment.
While also that the ULC demands the immediate release of its “Registration Certificate”.
According to Ngige, Mr Didi Adodo, Secretary General of ULC in a statement gave false impression that this Association is a Government recognised Federation of Trade Unions.
“Our immediate reaction is to remind the promoters of this Association that they are not yet a Federal Government recognised Federation of Trade Unions and hence cannot speak on behalf of any Trade union.
“The Trade Union Act. CAP T14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, is explicitly clear on how a group of Trade Unions can coalesce to form a Federation of Trade Unions.
“Section 35(1)(b) states inter alia “A Federation of Trade Unions may be registered by the Registrar if it is made up of 12 or more Trade Unions none of which shall have been a member of another registered Federation of the Trade Unions.
“The promoters of ULC should fulfill this requirement to qualify to be registered.
“To call out workers on essential services for a national strike without any major trade dispute with their direct employers will be tantamount to blatant violation of our extant labour laws and International standards.’’
He said that Nigerians known that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) was the Oldest Federation of the Trade Unions in Nigeria.
He said NLC has been factionalised since after her elections in 2015 and the Ministry of Labour and Employment has been making efforts to resolve the controversies that arose from the disputed elections.
He added that this to government is democracy in the practice of Trade Unionism in Nigeria, saying that a group of Trade Unions are free to ask for registration as a federation if they are dissatisfied with their present federation.
Ngige, however, said they must satisfy the conditions of having 12 new Trade Unions that were not previously affiliate of any of the existing federations; In this case, the Nigeria Labour Congrees(NLC) and Trade Union Congress(TUC).
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Government will not fold her hands and allow any group of persons take the law into their hands.
“That is by brazenly threatening to commit Economic Sabotage by shutting down essential services in the Oil and Gas, Power, and Aviation Sectors as threatened by the promoters of ULC.
“Members of the Trade Unions who are sympathetic to the ULC mentioned are advised to go about their duties in the interest of a peaceful industrial relations environment and for the good of our national economy,” Ngige said.
The minister assured all Nigerians that government would ensure security in all work places.