NLC, TUC Draw Battle Line With El-Rufai Over Workers’ Verification

Nasir El-Rufai

The organized labour in Kaduna State on Thursday said they would continue to demand the rights of workers in the state even in the face of blackmail and intimidation by the state government.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have over the past two weeks been engaged in a battle with the state government over the ongoing verification of workers.

While government gave workers in the state the option of indicating whether they want to belong to unions or not, the State NLC and TUC objected, protesting and lobbying workers to ignore the options being offered them by government.

The organized labour threatened to embark on a mother of all protests if the Nasir El-Rufai-led government goes ahead with the plan to make membership of unions optional for workers, a threat that was dismissed by the governor, who vowed to see the verification exercise to a successful completion.

A spokesperson for the Governor, Samuel Aruwan, said “public servants first became employees before they became union members.

“Cooperation with the employer to verify the status of every worker is expected. It cannot be made a reason for industrial action.

“Refusal to participate in verification will result in the concerned persons being removed from the payroll.

“The labour leadership seems to be afraid that workers will opt-out of joining unions.

“If that be the case, the unions should seek ways to increase their attraction to workers, including persuading them to opt for continued membership.

“Inciting workers against a legitimate process of updating their personnel records is counter-productive”.

However, in a statement on Thursday signed by NLC chairman, Adamu Ango, and his TUC counterpart, Shehu Mohammed, the unions said no amount of campaign of calumny from any quarters would deter them from demanding for the rights of workers in the state.

“The demand for workers for a verification from indicating their choice to belong to the union or not is tantamount to an infringement on their fundamental human rights,” the statement said.

“Union membership is a constitutional issue which is above the jurisdiction of any state government. Labour unions would resist any attempt to polarize and create dis-harmony among its members”.

They, therefore, advised workers in the state to remain resolute and be law abiding while conducting their duties.

They also urged the state government to publish names of workers who aided and abetted ghost workers in the state, and to also make same available to the NLC and the TUC for necessary action.

“Colossal amount involve of N 500,000,000,00 per months; is big enough to assist the government in its developmental programmes in the state”, the unions said.