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Labour suspends warning strike in Kaduna, as FG summons “Hell Rufai”, Wabba to Abuja



Organised Labour yesterday evening, suspended ongoing five-day warning strike against Kaduna State Government..

This followed the Federal Government summoning of Governor Nasir el-Rufai(Hell Rufai) of Kaduna State and Labour leaders to an emergency conciliatory meeting today in Abuja today, in an effort to apprehend the escalating industrial dispute between the Kaduna State government and Organized Labour over mass sack of workers among other alleged anti-workers’ policies

President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who disclosed this, said it was to honour the Federal Government’s invitation for a conciliatory meeting today.

This came as the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC, Africa, described Tuesday’s attack on the protesting members of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC by hired thugs as crude, uncivil and incompatible with the ethos of participatory democracy provisions and good governance.

Also, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, condemned the attack on workers protesting against mass sack of workers and other alleged anti-workers policies by Kaduna State government.

Meanwhile, The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, urged Governor Nasir el-Rufai, to immediately and unconditionally reinstate all the sacked workers from the state public service.

Undaunted by the thugs’ attack on Tuesday, labour leaders and aggrieved workers yesterday trooped into the streets of Kaduna metropolis for a peaceful protest.

The Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, invited the two parties to the trade dispute to the meeting, scheduled for 11 am at the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Federal Secretariat, Abuja

Specifically, those invited to the emergency conciliation meeting included el Rufai and top officials of the state as well as Wabba and top NLC leaders.

A statement by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, said the Minister had apprehended the strike.

The statement said, “The Minister further directed the two parties to maintain the status quo ante bellum pending the resolution of the issues in contention.”

The letters separately addressed to both the Governor of Kaduna State and the President of the NLC read in part: ” Sequel to the strike prompted by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) one of the federations of Trade Unions in Nigeria, and the subsequent withdrawal of work and services in almost all public sector establishments and institutions in Kaduna State, including but not limited to the essential services in electricity, water and health, which has consequently resulted and inflicted huge damage and loss to the economy and well-being and even loss of lives to the people of Kaduna State in the last three days.

” I am therefore constrained in the exercise of my powers as the Minister of Labour and Employment, under the Trade Disputes Act, CAP . T8, Laws of Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004; to invite you and your top officials to the emergency trade dispute conciliation meeting.

” Between the transition period for the meeting , you are please requested to maintain the status quo ante bellum this dispute, so that the enabling climate for the resolution of the issues in dispute will not be hindered by the creation of new issues.”

ITUC drags el-Rufai to ILC

Meanwhile, ITUC-Africa, said it would report the attack on Nigerian Labour leaders and workers to the forthcoming International Labour Conference, ILC, and invited the conference to examine what it described as “crass and crude infractions” of her statutes and provisions.

A statement by its General Secretary, Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, read in part: “This action is crude, uncivil and incompatible with the ethos of participatory democracy provisions and good governance. No doubt, this action by the Kaduna State Governor is a flagrant negation of the laid down principles for resolving industrial disputes. To unleash hired and paid thugs on protesting workers is an invitation to further anarchy and chaos. It is repressible and reckless.”

Port workers threaten strike

Also, MWUN which had earlier declared a total support for the ongoing five-day strike in Kaduna State, in a statement by its President-General and Secretary-General, Prince Adewale Adeyanju and Felix Akingboye, respectively, among others, said: “Mallam el-Rufai who probably is still living in a stone age believes that he can use the instrumentality of state to suppress the rights of workers. Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria believes that the primary function of a democratically elected government is to provide and maintain welfare services to its citizenry and not to trample upon their rights to decent work and pay.

“MWUN hereby warns that it shall not hesitate to withdraw the services of its members in all ports formations, jetties, terminals and oil and gas platforms in solidarity with the congress should el-Rufai continue to threaten the lives of Congress leaders and members.”

PDP advises el-Rufai

Meantime, PDP in a statement by its national Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, “Our party insists that the right of citizens to peaceful protest is fully guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and charges Governor el-Rufai to douse the tensed situation by coming down from his high horse, rescind his position and listen to the people.

“Governor el-Rufai must understand that we are in a democratic nation governed by law; where sovereignty belongs to the people, and not a dictatorial regime as being witnessed in the attitude of the Kaduna state government towards workers.

“It is even more worrisome that some of those involved in this anti-people disposition are seen as aspiring to hold the position of President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

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