By Victor AhiumaYoung
ABUJA—NIGERIA Labour Congress, NLC, weekend accused the leadership of the Senate of undermining labour movement in the country, by holding discussions with certain individuals pretending to be representing workers in the power sector to find solutions to the problems in the sector.
Congress in a statement urged the Senate and the National Assembly to stop every unholy romance with these individuals on issues in the power sector without involving the leadership of the unions in the sector, lamenting that this development was unfortunate and a futile attempt by these individuals to hijack the sector for their selfish motives
NLC in the statement by the Deputy President of Joe Ajaero faction, Achese Igwe, insisted that the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, remained the two unions within the power sector, contending that any agreement reached without NUEE and SSAEAC would not be binding to the workers in the sector.
The statement read in part: “We know that the Senate may have meant well and is desirous of resolving all public interest issues arising out of all sectors of the nation’s economy of which the Power sector is one of them. We also acknowledge and appreciate one of the key roles of the National Assembly which is its oversight functions over the activities of the Executive arm of Government. In exercising these functions we urge the Senate not to allow itself to be misled into being used by some individuals to achieve certain hidden agenda. This is to protect the Senate from being ridiculed and unwittingly dragged into the on-going crisis within the NLC.
“The Senate President should know that the NLC presently has two factions with each having a complete set of organs and officers thus capable of engaging any of our Social partners on any issue effectively nation-wide. He has to be reminded that though we are making efforts toward reconciliation, we are still unfortunately factionalised.”
Continuing with these discussions in this context and structure will be viewed by us as a conscious effort by the Senate to undermine us and collude with fourth columnists to scuttle the on-going reconciliation effort within the Congress and keep Nigerian workers and the movement perpetually divided to the benefit of the ruling elite and employers.”
He added that “Nobody should be deceived of the degree of our capacity to protect ourselves. It will be illusory to believe that this divide of the Congress can be ignored. We are alert and watchful for any of such meetings to hold again without appropriate regards to the real stakeholders in the sector. Holding such Meetings without the Energy sector Unions and their acknowledged umbrella body is not only provocative and inciting but grossly insensitive.
“Our advice to the Senate is to reach out to these Unions – Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, NUEE and SSAEC if it wishes to continue holding dialogue to resolve emerging issues and challenges within the sector and stop forthwith this ungodly effort at keeping Nigerian workers and their platforms perpetually divided and weakened.”