The Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria on Friday threatened to shut down economic activities in Lagos State on Monday over the alleged interference of the state government in the activities of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).
Briefing journalists in Abuja, the TUC President, Festus Osifo, noted that all its affiliate unions, including the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association, of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), among others will be joining the action.
Osifo lamented that all mechanisms for amicable resolution of the crisis appears to have failed, noting that TUC employed all necessary tools of engagement, written letters and held meeting with the Lagos State government all to no avail.
He added that RTEAN also went to court and got a judgement from the National Industrial Court which clarified that State government has no powers to proscribed a trade union legally registered by the Federal government. Yet, Lagos State government has denied the union its right to operate.
The TUC President said it would utilize trade unionism powers to protect its affiliate unions. Stressing that the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Federal government’s body with powers to register and deregister trade unions should call Lagos State government to order.
Osifo also threatened that after the protest if the State government remain adamant, its affiliates will shutdown all federal establishments across Lagos.
According to him: “The National Industrial Court Lagos State division in its judgment told the State government to unlock the offices of RTEAN its official locked. The Court expressly said also that Lagos State government has no powers to proscribed a registered trade union. But Lagos government refused to comply with the judgment.
“On the 4th of September this year, we wrote another letter to Lagos State government drawing their attention to the government judgment and the meeting we had earlier with them where they promised that the issue will be resolved, but there was no response. All other attempts to reach the State governor was to no avail.
“In fact we have even reported the Ministry of Labour and to people in 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 remain 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 legal registered trade union is not acceptable to us.
“So, in order for us to carry out a successful protest in Lagos on Monday, we gave 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.