Joe Ajaero, NLC President
By Elizabeth Adegbesan
LEADERS of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, yesterday, stormed the Lagos State Government House, in Alausa, protesting the continued ban on the activities of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, and the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW.
Among labour leaders at the protest were Secretary General of TUC, Nuhu Toro; Deputy General-Secretary of NLC, Ismail Bello; President of TUC/Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, Festus Osifo, and Lagos State Chairman of TUC, Gbenga Ekundayo.
Toro explained that the labour leaders were at the Lagos government house to demand the unbanning of both RTEAN and the NURTW by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, among others.
Mr Olasunkanmi Ojo from the Ministry of Transportation, who received the protest letter on behalf of Governor Sanwo-Olu, assured the labour leaders that the Governor would look into their demands.
Toro said: “The right of freedom of association and collective bargaining is fundamental. Our constitution recognizes the right of workers to belong to a union. Our Labour Act respects the rights of workers to form and belong to a union. The ILO conventions 67 and 98 guarantee the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining and so, the RTEAN and NURTW are trade unions.
“By our rules and by our constitution, Labour is on the exclusive list which means it is a prerogative of the Federal Government. If there are issues in the labour market, there are ways to resolve them through the Ministry of Labour, through the NIC.
“So no governor has a right to proscribe a union. If they have any grouse around the union, they should take them to court and the court will make a pronouncement.
“What we have come to tell the Governor is to allow these unions to thrive as one, allow these unions operate as unions. If there are areas anybody feels uncomfortable, our rules and our procedures are there to follow to explore but not to trample on the right of workers to operate their union. That is the issue.”