Stories by Victor Ahiuma-Young
DISAPPOINTED by the seemingly anti-labour policies of government at all levels, especially after electioneering promises, ahead of 2019 general elections and as political manoeuvring, alignments and realignments thicken, United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, and its leaders are not leaving anything to chance.
The group is already putting strategies in place to ensure that workers and indeed, Nigerian masses get due benefits in post-2019 general elections.
Consequently, at its Central Working Committee, CWC meeting in Lagos, the group announced that it would not be apolitical, but be involved in the build up to and in next year’s general elections.
In a communique at the end of the meeting, leaders of ULC said among others, that it had become frightening to Nigerian workers and masses, the lack of premium which Nigerian politicians and leaders place on the life of an average Nigerian.
According to ULC: “Our democracy remains very fragile and may not withstand the pressures being put on it by politicians in and out of government. Actions that threaten democracy have become preponderant and we are afraid that the nation may be thrown back to the years of despotism and dictatorship. It is, therefore, the duty of responsible and patriotic men and women including organisations such as ours, to rise up and take actions to stop this apparent slide into anarchy. Our nation is founded on basic freedoms and these must not be trampled upon so, we insist that it is our duty to resist every action that may deny Nigerian workers and citizenry those hard won democratic rights for which many of us were thrown into jail by the former military juntas.
“United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, has decided to be fully involved in the nation’s politics as we move towards 2019. We shall actively work with those parties, individuals or groups who seek the welfare of Nigerian workers and masses. To this end, a committee has been set up across the 36 states and Abuja to commence immediate discussions with such partners that have already indicated interest and those that may show interest later to make this desire a reality.
“We shall work and support only those who fully support the full freedom and rights of all Nigerian workers to enjoy totally their democratic rights within the workplace. Only those who will give free rein to the operation of Section 40 of our Constitution and conventions 87 and 98 of the ILO shall receive our support as the general elections approach.”
The group lamented that members “are surprised that a government that we supported based on its promise of change has indeed become one that consolidates and deepens the status quo in all its ramifications especially in those areas that negatively affect poor Nigerian workers.”
Leaders of ULC demanded among others, “The review of the nation’s Industrial Relations and other Labour Laws not in the best interest of Nigerians, should be revived forthwith by the National Assembly which seems to have been consumed by electioneering. All stakeholders in the process should be rightfully notified in the process of crafting a better and progressive body of Laws to govern workplace relations in Nigeria.”
ULC reiterated its “avowal to commit continually to the protection of the rights and privileges of Nigerian workers and masses. We are always available to lead the battle in this regard and anything that would stand in our collective move to make Nigeria better for all the citizenry, we shall be at the front to resist and overcome. We shall not compromise on this because it remains our mission.”