The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has criticised the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for refusing to join its recent two-day warning strike, saying that a trade union cannot pull out of an industrial action it did not initiate.
TrackNews Media reports that NLC president Joe Ajaero made the comments on Channels Television’s Politics Today program on Monday after a meeting between the Federal Government and the NLC to avert an indefinite strike ended in a deadlock.
Ajaero said that the NLC is the foremost labour organisation in Nigeria and that it can do it alone if necessary.
Ajaero said, ‘’Well, there is no organisation, there is no trade union registered as organised 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 organisation 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.
“We can work independently,” he said. “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.”
Ajaero said that any union can give its own strike notice and that the NLC would not object to the TUC doing so.
“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.’’
He added, “And I think that maybe the ministry is enjoying it.’’
The NLC had given the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to resolve its demands 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 federal government to avert an earlier two-day nationwide strike. However, only the TUC showed up for the meeting