Employers of labour jittery over unity of NLC, ULC


Comrade Wabba and Comrade Ajaero

By allcitynews.ng



It may no longer be news to some industry watchers that the five years of confrontation, cold war and disunity that tore Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and United Labour Congress (ULC) is over.


The fresh news is that now that the war has been thrown outside the board, employers of labour are now jittery over the united force of the two, now, united labour centre.


Allcitynews.ng learnt from sources in both organised private sector of Nigeria (OPSN) and from three tiers of governments who have been using the disunity as licence to violate the rights of Nigerian workers and deny them their entitlements, are now afraid and thinking of the best way to create and sustain peace in their workplace to avoid picketing of the two that have become one Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).


Speaking with allcitynews.ng, Comrade Emeka Nwaju commended the good leadership role of Comrade Ayuba Wabba for ensuring the coming together of the breakaway group.


Another person, a worker in private sector, Mr Akoka Ojuolape noted that “the unity of the two will create fear in the minds of employers that have been hiding under the guise of unemployment in the country to hire and fire workers without giving them their entitlements.


“Most of us have been trying to endure the harsh condition of service by employers of labour because they believe that no Nigerian government or organised labour can come to our rescue based on their disunity. But now that they have finally come together again, wise employers of labour will think twice before taking any anti-workers’ decision because strength of the united force of NLC will deal with any employers of labour that violate the rights of Nigerian workers.”


When the two centres went different ways and were at logger heads, that move was a reminder of the popular saying of ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinue Achebe. Also it was a reminder of the wise saying that divided we fall. Hence, all tiers of governments and some difficult employers of labour in the country using that as licence ill-treated workers, they had field day in engaging in anti-workers activities and got away with it.


The man at the centre of the heat, NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, worked assiduously to ensure that the united NLC he met on ground should not disintegrate under his reign.


Years back, he singlehandedly united the factional ASSBIFI which was under NLC. He merged that ASSBIFI with the mainstream ASSBIFI. Now, that ASSBIFI is under one umbrella. Now, he ensured the coming together of United Labour Congress (ULC) with Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).


It would be recalled that the battle started after the conduct of leadership election in the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at the 10th National Delegates Conference in 2015. The election was between the Comrade Ayuba Wabba supporters and supporters of Comrade Joe Ajaero, during that election, some misunderstanding arose between some affiliates of Congress. Those affiliates in support of Comrade Joe Ajaero kicking against the outcome of that election, later formed United Labour Congress (ULC). Efforts by Labour veterans such as the pioneer President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu and a former President of the NLC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to resolve the issue met brickwalls. Since that 2015 till 2020, Comrade Joe Ajaero and his team formed United Labour Congress (ULC).


As the planned reconciliation yielded positive results,  Wabba pointedly said, “The outcome of this quiet but sustained effort at making the peace is the fruit of the reconciliation that we are celebrating today. It is to the credit of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the United Labour Congress that the bond of solidarity was never broken even at the height of misunderstanding. The NLC and ULC always cooperated and collaborated in defending Nigerian workers. This was the experience during negotiations for the new national minimum wage.”


Now that they have merged, Wabba explained that “The Nigeria Labour Congress has emerged out of this crisis stronger. We have gained more affiliate unions to our movement, we have gained more experience, and we have built more bridges. Going forward from this platform of unity, we are ready now more than ever before to confront and overcome the myriad of challenges facing Nigerian workers – economic, social, and political.”