The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has tackled the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over its refusal to take part in its recent 2-day warning strike, saying that a trade union cannot pull out of an industrial action it did not initiate.
This was made known by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, while featuring on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, hours after a meeting between the Federal Government and the NLC to avert an indefinite strike ended in a deadlock.
Ajaero, who described the NLC as the foremost labour organization, said they can go it alone based on the outcome of their last warning strike.
We can work independently
- ‘’Well, there is no organization, there is no trade union registered as organized labour, it was coined for the convenience of government to avoid 2 meetings and the 2 organizations are independent, although one is the foremost labour centre.
- ‘’At the international labour organization or any meeting, the foremost or the union with the highest worker representatives lead. Even in ILO, we must take TUC along, so if we can’t agree again on issues, we can meet separately with the government and table our matters.
- “From what you can see from our last warning strike, you see that we can do it alone,” Ajaero said.
Asked if the NLC does not need the TUC, Ajaero stated, “We can work independently; we can work jointly when we agree.
- “But the NLC will not take under our watch if we give a strike notice and then a union that didn’t give a strike notice says they are backing out of a strike that they didn’t call for.”
The NLC president argued that any union could give its strike notice.
- “Every union can give their strike notice, TUC can give their strike notice and go ahead with their notice. NLC can give their strike notice and go ahead with their notice.’’
Ajaero however stated that if TUC gives a strike notice, the NLC would not say it is not a part of it “because they didn’t even say they were part of it in the first instance”.
According to him, those are things being streamlined.
- “And I think that maybe the ministry is enjoying it.’’
What you should know
The NLC had earlier given the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to resolve its demand or risk an indefinite strike.
Among its demands are to address the consequences of petrol price hikes, review the minimum wage, provide a workable roadmap to the CNG alternative, fix the country’s refineries, and pay lecturers’ salary arrears.
The NLC had earlier shunned a meeting arranged by the minister to avert an earlier two-day nationwide strike. However, only the TUC showed up for the meeting.