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Labour writes FG on looming industrial crisis

…You’re using hoodlums to invade our premises–IST
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA – THE Organized Labour has written to the Federal Government over the looming industrial unrest as a result of the alleged non implementation of the agreement between the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational services Employees, AUPCTRE, and the Investment and Securities Tribunal, IST.

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This is as AUPCTRE, which is an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, on Monday protested at the Jabi headquarters of the union, Abuja.

The union that had gone to picket IST, was however prevented gaining access to the main gate leading to the premises by heavily armed police officers.

Meanwhile, the management of IST, has accused AUPCTRE of using hoodlums to invade its premises yesterday in violation of the order of the National industrial Court directing the union and its officials to keep off the premises as staff of the IST were no longer affiliated to it.

In the letter to the Federal Government through the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, signed by Comrade Sikiru Waheed, Secretary of AUPCTRE Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, the pleaded with the government to direct the Chairman of IST, Mr. Siaka Isaiah Idoko-Akoh to respect agreement freely signed with the union on 12th February, 2018.

The union threatened that, “If urgent preventive action is not taken, the Chairman of IST, Barry. Siaka Isaiah Idoko-Akoh will precipitate a breach of public peace and worsen the labour unrest and industrial crisis in the Tribunal.”

The union accused the management of IST of corruption, fin infractions, impunity, lawlessness, Malad ministration, anti-staff policies, nepotism and refusal to implement management /Labour agreement.

“We have sent several petitions (with overwhelming evidences) to your ministry, SGF (Secretary to the Government of the Federation), EFCC (Economic Financial and Crimes Commission), ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission) etc, against Mr. Idoko-Akoh, but his boasts that he is untouchable appear to be true. ”

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Other prayers of the union to the Federal Government were the suspension of Idoko-Akoh from office to allow investigation on alleged cases of raud leveled against him, restrain him from transferring or posting of AUPCTRE executives out of Abuja among others.

But in a statement in Abuja, signed by Kenneth Ezea, Director, Corporate Affairs, IST said,” The attention of the Management of the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST) has been drawn to the unlawful invasion of its premises yesterday by hoodlums and outlaws operating under the umbrella of Amalgamated Union of Public Companies, Technicians, Recreational and Entertainment Employees (AUPCTRE) in clear violation of the order of the National industrial Court directing AUPCTRE and its officials to keep off our premises as staff of the IST are no longer affiliated to it.

“Management asserts that after reviewing the structure and orientation of AUPCTRE, it decided that affiliation of the Tribunal’s staff to it was incongruent with normal practice as the AUPCTRE’s sectoral coverage and affiliates have no relationships with what the Tribunal does as a judicial body.

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“When this issue could not be resolved amicably a case was filed at the National Industrial Court (NIC) to resolve two basic questions namely – whether AUPCTRE and its officers are the appropriate and/or legal union to represent the staff of the Tribunal having due regard that the Tribunal is a court carrying out judicial function and second; whether the AUPCTRE is the legal trade union body to represent the staff of the Tribunal.

“On May 21, 2019, the NIC gave its judgment in which Justice Sanusi Kado ruled that AUPCTRE is not the legal trade union to represent members of staff of IST. The court also restrained the officers of AUPCTRE from parading themselves as representatives of IST staff while directing Management, “not to interfere with the staff in choosing to join appropriate union within the jurisdictional scope of the industry to which they belong” which is the judiciary.

“Interestingly, other affiliates of AUPCTRE are technicians, photographers, hotel workers, mechanics, etc. While Management has due regards for the liberal principle and philosophy of dignity of labour, it is our view that our staff should related with civil service, public service and judicial trade unions.

“Consequently, the Management of the Tribunal condemns the lawless decision of AUPCTRE and their leaders especially Benjamin Anthony and Sikiru Waheed to violate the order of court and disrupt the activities of the Tribunal. The securities agencies have therefore been alerted to ensure there is no repeat of this kind of brigandage and to fish out the lawbreakers and charge them to court.

“Management also wishes to dismiss the empty claims and spurious allegations being promoted as the grievances of the Staff. It’s curious that staff should organize a protest against speculated transfers and punishments that are yet to take place. Moreover, we are not aware of any Management that can single handedly over-ride the Federal Government to implement a policy that has been banned.

“The sponsors of the protests who apparently want to retain permanent executive positions in AUPCTRE in order not to leave Abuja on transfer to any other city should realize that the soldiers serving in the war fronts all over Nigeria are also human beings.

“For close to two years now they have invested everything they can think of to petition, incite the government against and blackmail the Honourable Chairman of the Tribunal for their selfish reasons. But this Management remains resolute in doing the correct things in public interest.”

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