NLC, TUC threatens to shut down Kaduna over El-Rufai’s new anti labour rules

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to shut down, not only Kaduna but the entire 36 states, if after seven days Governor Nasir El-Rufai refuses to rescind his anti workers policies.

NLC President, Ayuba Waba, issued the seven-day ultimatum at a rally in Ka­duna yesterday.

According to the Kaduna State Chapter of NLC, the state government had issued out a form
, titled ‘Special Exercise on Staff Verification’ , where it requested all workers on its payroll to either fill ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, for membership of union.

Waba, who said no worker has right to opt out of union and enjoy minimum wage, emphasised that the 1948 UN Charter gives rights to workers to belong to trade union of their choice.

“If workers have gone through several verification exercises, why this one again? Any verification form issued without the consent of either labour or government is unacceptable.”

The workers, who thronged the secretariat of the state branch of NLC took their turns to deride the governor amidst cheers of their leaders by calling him unpleasant names, saying “We regret his emer­gence as governor”.

Similarly, President of TUC , Boiboi who said time has come to tell government that workers are the owners of the land, said, “We hold El-Rufai in high esteem, but it is sad that someone that was an executive council member, does not know that union membership is not the issue of government.

“Law says deduct and remit to union secretariat, but we have noticed that politicians see workers as slaves and we are prepared to go all out to fight them.”

Though the rally which featured thousands of work­ers from all over the state public service was peace­ful, armed policemen con­doned-off the secretariat to prevent unforeseen circum­stances.

Addressing the placard carrying mammoth crowd of workers under a scourging sun, the President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Waba said: “El-Rufai was playing God with Kaduna State workers.”

He regretted that it was unfortunate the governor had shown no empathy towards what he said during the various tragedies that had befallen workers since the inception of his various verification exercises.

“Although the law obliges employers to collect dues on behalf of unions, it is not at all clear if the law makes union membership compulsory. This situation arose after some local governments had their accounts garnisheed by banks because of loans they guaranteed for some labour unions.

“The Kaduna State Government made it clear that it would make it possible for each of its workers to indicate if they wanted to be union members. The NLC expressed the view that union membership is automatic under our federal labour laws and appeared to doubt whether the numbers opting to remain will be significant if given the option to opt out.

“It was agreed that the NLC will submit a position paper on the two issues. Both sides also agreed to review the union membership issue once the forms are returned by workers and the data compiled. The submission of the NLC is being awaited to advance the outcome of a meeting that was held in an atmosphere of cordiality and mutual respect.”

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