The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has expressed its readiness to shut down economic activities in Lagos State on Monday, 25 September, in protest to the State government’s ban on the operation of its affiliate union, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).
TUC President Comrade Festus Osifo made this known to journalists in Abuja on Friday. He said all affiliate unions of TUC, including Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN), Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), and others are expected to join the action.
Osifo said TUC has employed all the necessary tools of engagement for amicable resolution: written letters and held meetings with the Lagos State government. He added that the RTEAN also went to court and got a judgement from the National Industrial Court, which said the State government has no powers to proscribe a trade union legally registered by the Federal government. Yet, the Lagos State government refuses the union to operate.
He, therefore, said TUC will utilise trade union’s powers to protest its affiliate union. He also called on the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Federal government’s body with powers to register and deregister trade unions, to call the Lagos State government to order.
TUC also threatened that if the State government remains adamant after the protest, its affiliates will shut down all federal establishments across Lagos.
“The National Industrial Court Lagos State division, in its judgement told the State government to unlock the offices of RTEAN its official locked. The Court expressly said also that the Lagos State government has no powers to proscribe a registered trade union. However, the Lagos government refused to comply with the judgment.
“On the 4th of September this year, we wrote another letter to the Lagos State government, drawing their attention to the government judgment and the meeting we had earlier with them where they promised that the issue would be resolved, but there was no response. All other attempts to reach the State governor were to no avail.
“In fact, we have even reported the Ministry of Labour and to people in the Federal government that are from Lagos State to call the governor to order. What they are doing to RTEAN is the same thing they now doing to NURTW today. So, this is fundamentally wrong.
“So it is against this backdrop that we said on the 4th of September: within two weeks, if the Lagos government remains adamant in resolving the issue, we are going to carry out a protest, and after the protest and there is no resolution in sight, there is going to be a total shutdown in Lagos State. Because what the State government is doing against a legally registered trade union is not acceptable to us.
“So in order for us to carry out a successful protest in Lagos on Monday, we informed the DG of DSS, IGP, and the National Security Adviser.
The reason is that we want them to provide us with adequate security. And we have informed all our affiliates to proceed to Lagos next week.” Osifo said.
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