The Trade Union Congress (TUC) have threatened to embark on an indefinite strike and vowed to ground economic activities in Lagos State over the ban on the operations of its affiliate union, the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) by the state government.
It also directed its members to mobilise for a one-day protest on Monday in preparation for the withdrawal of service.
This was made known on Friday by the National President of the TUC, Festus Osifo, during a press briefing in Abuja, where he said that all affiliate unions of TUC including the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions among others are expected to join the action.
Osifo said the Lagos state government had technically proscribed RTEAN in the state which led to taking over the motor parks and locked the office.
He pointed out that the TUC had employed all the necessary tools of engagement for amicable resolution, including writing letters and holding meetings with the Lagos State government on the issue, adding that the RTEAN also went to court and got a judgment from the National Industrial Court which said the state government had no powers to proscribe a trade union legally registered by the Federal Government.
Osifo added that the state government refused to allow the union to operate, saying that TUC would utilise trade unionism powers to protest the ban on its affiliate union.
- He said, “We are going to carry out a protest in Lagos once again on Monday, then after that protest we would see when there is no solution in sight then, there is going to be a total shutdown in Lagos state because for us this is clearly not acceptable.’’
Osifo bemoaned the failure of mechanisms for peaceful resolution of the situation, stating that the TUC had used all appropriate means of engagement, including letters and meetings with the government of Lagos State.
- Osifi said, “As a law-abiding centre, we told our affiliate to approach the court, so they approached the national industrial court and a judgement came on the 28th day of April 2023. In that judgement, it was expressly stated that their offices should be opened and that the Lagos state government doesn’t have the right to proscribe any union.
- “The judgement of the court was not complied with, so we now decided to write to Lagos state government trying to push them to enforce the decision of the court but unfortunately they did not yield to this.’’
The labour leader also called on the Ministry of Labour and Employment, which has the power to register and deregister trade unions, to caution the Lagos State government.
Writes DSS, IGP to provide security
- He added, “In order for us to carry out a successful protest in Lagos on Monday, we informed the Director-General of the Department of State Services, the Inspector-General of Police, 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.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday confirmed the release of the four leaders of the Nigeria Union Road Transport Workers by the police.
NLC President, Mr Joe Ajaero, who confirmed the release in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, said that the officials were released on Thursday night after staying for more than a month in custody.
The released officials were the National President, Tajudeen Baruwa, General Secretary, Anthony Chukudi, Olayi Odion, National Trustee and Principal Assistant Secretary, Abdulrasak Yemi.