The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Thursday, faulted Simon Lalong, Minister of Labour and Employment, for undermining the implementation of the Labour–Federal Government agreement of October 2, 2023.
In a statement, the union said Lalong had “taken sides with people who had illegally seized the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) headquarters with police support.”
The NLC also said the minister had failed to reinstate the democratically elected NURTW leadership, led by Tajudeen Baruwa, despite initial assurances.
According to the Organised Labour, Lalong had chosen to endorse and legitimise the hijacking with the state’s backing.
“It is now abundantly clear that the federal government never negotiated in good faith and, consequently, was never genuinely committed to honouring the terms of the October 2, 2023 agreement.
“This serves to affirm our earlier apprehension that the State was maneuvering to orchestrate a coup d’état against the democratically elected NURTW leadership, potentially alluding to the support of the Government, as suggested by Minister Lalong’s actions and statements.” the statement signed by Emmanuel Ugboaja, NLC general secretary, partly read.
While rejecting Lalong’s endorsement of “illegal conferences,” it said any deviation from the initial agreement could have grave consequences.
“The government cannot flout ILO conventions, the constitution, and the union’s statutes with impunity and believe that all will be quiet.
NLC said: “A minister of labour is supposed to be an arbiter and as expected to provide professional guidance to the government on this matter instead he chose to contaminate the process with the same level of politics of the murky waters playing out in the larger polity.
“We implore the president to rein in minister Lalong, and if this does not occur, we will conclude that the minister’s actions align with the president’s directives.
“Our allegiance is to upholding the rule of law and democratic principles, even if the minister chooses to disregard them,” the statement added.
The Union furthered that any continued non-compliance after 30 days will compel relevant bodies to take necessary actions adding that the government can “either honor the essence of the agreement or persist on minister Lalong’s perilous course, inevitably leading to a national industrial crisis.”