The news of the coming together and remaining under one umbrella of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) by United Labour Congress (ULC) is longer fresh news.
But stakeholders are charging the leadership of the new team to use their togetherness to first fight against one strong enemy known indecent work in the country.
In the agenda setting by stakeholders, they prayed that the union should prioritise on tackling indecent work across the country as most employers are using large numbers of unemployment in the country as licence to convert workplaces to modern slave camps.
The unity is a cheery news, one finest moments for labour-PENGASSAN
Thus, on his take over the coming together under one umbrella of NLC, the President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Ndukaku Michael Ohaeri, described the development as cheering news and one of the finest moments for Labour movement in Nigeria. He called on them to ensure the unity is used to win war against precarious jobs in the country.
According to him the good of this development is the cohesion and strength it brings to our collective solidarity and the attendant gains for Nigerian workers.
Ohaeri noted that the new found love and unity is poised to better the lot of Nigerian workers through greater stakeholder engagement for better working conditions and of course the common good of Nigerians through wider advocacy for good governance in Nigeria as a highly organised pressure group.
In addition PENGASSAN helmsman said unity will bring trust and mutual respect, which are very important ingredients for sustainable relationship in this regard as individual interest and ego have been pushed backwards.
The unity, which was overdue is a good omen- NECA
In the same development, the Director General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Dr Timothy Olawale commended the initiative and efforts that led to the reconciliation.
According to him, the reconciliation, which was overdue, is a good omen for the Labour movement in Nigeria and the generality of Nigerian workers. The return to a stronger undivided voice can only serve to enhance the strategic position that the Labour movement holds in the Tripartite and the nation in general.
Olawale pointed out that “we have no doubt that the Labour movement must have picked learning points from the events of the past, which served no one. At critical times like this in our country when the nation needs forthright, focused and incorruptible leadership, the Labour movement and indeed all stakeholders cannot afford a divided house.”
While commending the unity, the Dr stressed that “we congratulate the entire Labour movement for this significant action and affirm our commitment to continue to work with them in the promotion of social dialogue, enterprise competitiveness, decent work and enduring tripartism.”
The unity will strengthen labour-IPC
In the same vein, the Executive Director, International Press Centre (IPC), Mr Lanre Arogundade described the unity as a welcomed development. He noted that it will strengthen labour as single central umbrella union, which is better than weak fragmented ones.
According to him, the beauty of it lies in the fact that Labour can become a decisive force whose actions or words cannot be ignored by government.
However, for that to happen, the unity must be based on genuine concern to fight for the interest of the workers, which should translate to opposition against all neo-liberal anti-workers economic policies like privatization and commercialisation.
Arogundade called on Comrade Ayuba Wabba and Comrade Joe Ajaero to use the unity to ensure the union is responsive to the yearning and aspirations of Nigerian workers.
The unity is a great achievement- NTGTWN
Similarly, Comrade Emeka Nkwoala, the Assistant General Secretary. National Union of Textile, Garment & Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NTGTWN) Unity of NLC and ULC is a great achievement for Nigerian workers.
“Textile Union is excited by this unity because it will give more strength to confront enemies of decent work in the country. Also, I commend NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba for this feat and I commend ULC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero for allowing the unity to work.” He charged them to use the unity to fight against injustice by employers of labour.
What led to the division in March 2015
It would be recalled that the breakaway from mainstream of NLC started in 2015. In the 2015, was NLC Delegates conference where a new set of leadership of the union would be elected.
Thus, the outcome of that election did not go down well with Comrade Joe Ajaero and his supporters. The move to settle that disagreement even by top former Labour leaders, like Comrade Sumonu and Comrade Adams Oshimhole did not work.
Then, there was factionalised NLC, one side in Abuja and one side in Lagos. After some months of separation, Comrade Joe Ajaero, in apparent bid to halt that open and secret class-of-interest, created United Labour Congress (ULC) in 18 December 2016. That somehow made ULC to stand as another labour centre until the step towards unification yielded result.
In his inaugural speech then, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said the formation of the new labour centre was borne out of strong need to revive the movement and end years of ‘docility’ that has been its lots in recent years.
Labour leadership in Nigeria, said Ajaero, lacked the “capacity and vision” to give direction to distraught workers most of whom are being owed months of salaries across states and local governments.
“In the recent past and currently, Nigerian workers and her people including Nigeria and government have not received the vibrant and progressive support of the movement in designing, in bringing out programme and policies that make for effective governance.
Ajaero then said, “There is an unfortunate disconnect between the trade union movement from its primary and secondary constituencies, a disconnect between it and the workers including the masses and the nation’s governance structures and processes it ought to support.”
Wabba fulfilled pledge, unity of NLC not negotiable-Wabba in 2015
Since that March 2015, Wabba-led NLC have been doing all within his power to maintain his first statement that unity of NLC is not negotiable.
“We shall preserve the unity of the NLC. Our attention has been drawn to a report in which Comrade Joe Ajaero, the General Secretary of NUEE, and Comrade Igwe Achese, President of NUPENG, claimed they have formed a new labour centre called the United Labour Congress (ULC).
“The Congress would like to assure our members across the length and breadth of the country and the general public that the leadership of the NLC is committed to the unity of the working class in the country notwithstanding the latest declaration by Comrades Ajaero and Achese. Unity of NLC is not negotiable. We shall do everything within our power to preserve the unity and coherence of the labour movement which was handed down to us by our forebears in the movement.”
Their call is based on their concern for pruning the growing casualties, especially in hazardous workplaces. In most workplaces, talk of security of lives of the workers and security of jobs are becoming scarce as most workers are only interested in earning wages at the detriment of genuine condition of service.
The late Richard
This call followed the untimely death last week, of Richard Gbadebo, said to be a 300 Level student of the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to the official statement from the management of Henkel, maker of Waw detergent, Late Richard Gbadebo was crushed to death inside the Ibadan detergent factory of the German firm.
Unfortunately, this kind of incidence is just one of the many horrific experiences Nigerians are going through in bid to earn a living.