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General News of Saturday, 5 June 2021


NLC writes Buhari, threatens to resume suspended strike in Kaduna

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai and NLC President, Ayuba Wabba Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai and NLC President, Ayuba Wabba

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has written President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging a breach of the agreement it signed with the Kaduna State government to end its warning strike last month.

It said the state, as against the outcome of the meeting brokered by the federal government, has started to sack its workers.

“Your Excellency, Mr. President, may recall that the first conciliatory meeting between the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Kaduna State Government took place on May 20, 2021.

“A major outcome of that meeting was a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Kaduna State Government.”

“The MoU specifically provided that there should be no further victimisation and harassment of workers and trade union leaders in the state, especially workers who participated in the warning strike.

“The Nigeria Labour Congress was also expected to maintain the suspension of the strike action while negotiations continued,” the letter signed by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, read.

Mr Wabba said “the Kaduna State Government has gone ahead to impugn all the clauses in the agreement freely entered with the Nigeria Labour Congress.”

He said the state has started sacking workers for participating in the warning strike, adding that this is in violation of the “no victimisation clause in the signed agreement”.

Mr Wabba informed the president that the Labour Union might reactivate the suspended strike action owing to the state government’s breach.

“Your Excellency, Mr. President, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the NLC on May 25, 2021 resolved that in case the Kaduna State Government remain adamant and recalcitrant or continues to pursue the path of war, threat and punitive actions against workers and their interests, that it had given the National Administrative Council (NAC) the power to re-activate the suspended industrial action in Kaduna State and also call for the withdrawal of services of all workers in Nigeria without any further notice.”

BackgroundPREMIUM TIMES reported how the workers’ union downed tools for two days in protest against the Kaduna State government’s move to lay-off civil servants.

The state government had earlier complained about the fiscal burden payment of salaries has posed, noting that it gulps 80 per cent of its share of the monthly federal allocation.

The resolve of the government to embark on “rightsizing” its workforce led the labour union to declare a five-day warning strike, shutting down major sectors.

The state government, in its reaction, threatened to lay off the protesting workers and not to back down from the planned mass disengagement.

But two days into the industrial action, the federal government waded in and called both parties for negotiations in Abuja.

At the conciliatory meeting, the federal government’s team, led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, reprimanded both parties.

Mr Ngige blamed the Kaduna State Government for not negotiating with workers before announcing such action as contained in the Labour Act on redundancy. He also blamed the Labour Union for acting based on a fake document insinuating that the government had commenced disengaging workers, when it had not.

He then instructed them to go back to the negotiating table after the union agreed to suspend the strike.

PREMIUM TIMES however gathered that the state government has begun laying off workers in the state after the meeting with the federal government

Meanwhile, Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s spokesperson, Muyiwa Adekeye, was yet to respond to this newspaper’s enquiries as of the time of filing this report.

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