Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have jointly ordered workers in Imo State to withdraw their services across the state beginning Tuesday night.
According to a circular released on Tuesday by the NLC General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the directive is based on the resolutions of a joint emergency meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC).
The circular read, “This is to remind all affiliates of the resolutions of the Joint emergency CWC meeting of the NLC and TUC where the unfortunate May Day development in Imo State was discussed.
“Consequently, all affiliates are kindly requested to issue the necessary directives to their state council in Imo State to embark on a comprehensive withdrawal of their services in the state by Midnight today in compliance with the Joint CWC decision.
“Do remain assured of the vigilance and determination of the leadership of the congress to creatively engage all forms of anti-workers practices all over the nation. Your participation is therefore key to our achieving our collective objectives,” NLC said in a statement signed by the general secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja.
The development is coming about 48 hours after the NLC accused the Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma, of attempting to force workers in the state to attend the May Day celebrations “in his chosen venue and under his own clone of NLC & TUC with a threat to punish those who refuses to attend.”
The NLC president, Joe Ajaero, said the move was typical of Uzodimma’s leadership style of trampling “upon all known statutes both local and international in an effort to muzzle all voices of opposition in the state while he holds workers and the people down in the cesspit of fear and great despair.”
He said, “It is amazing that the government does not understand that you cannot dictate to workers how and where to hold their May Day celebration. Government is not in a position to decide how and where workers decide to hold their celebration. It is supposed to be a day of freedom but Hope has decided to turn it into a day of bondage.
“This is unacceptable and runs counter to the provisions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) especially the spirit of conventions 87 and 98 which also speaks of non-interference of government and employers in the internal affairs of workers.
“Imo State government has continued to defy sane engagements, reasonable dialogue and compliance with the laws of the nation. He believes that the same impunity that may have brought him to Power can sustain him everything he does in government.
“NLC wants to state clearly that we are not fazed by his threat to sanction our workers who have decisively concluded not to attend his version of the May Day celebrations wherever he has chosen to celebrate it with the stooges that he has selected and is using to exploit, oppress and emasculate workers in the state.
“We urge workers in Imo State to ignore this Nicodemus Circular that was hurriedly issued on a Sunday and proceed to the State Secretariat of NLC in Owerri where workers are gathering to observe the May Day as originally planned. We will defend to any extent anybody the lawless government thinks they can victimize. It is our celebration and we will decide how to go about it.”