The crisis which has engulfed the labour movement in Nigeria took a new twist last December as the break away faction led by Comrade Joe Ajearo attempted to register a new Labour Centre to be known as United Labour Congress  (ULC).

In his inaugural/acceptance speech, Comrade Ajaero stated that his team has waited patiently for two years hoping the founding fathers of labour movement in Nigeria would be able to reconcile both parties, “unfortunately, there is no sincerity of purpose in the other party to reconcile our differences.”

He had claimed that the affiliates that form United Labour Congress of Nigeria (ULC) include: National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Nigeria Union of Electricity Employee (NUEE), Nigeria Union of Mine Workers, National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institution Employee (NUBIFIE), Nigeria Union of Road Workers (NURTW), National Union of Lottery Agents and Employees (NULAE) to mention afew.

He said the new labour movement satisfied the minimum of 12 trade unions that are allowed by law to form a national body. He stated that 18 union affiliates come together to form the body.

However, the Nigeria Labour Congress  (NLC) and its Trade Union Congress (TUC) have written to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige in an attempt to block the registration of  the United Labour Congress  (ULC) being flouted by erstwhile Labour leaders, Comrade Joe Ajearo

“We also trust that your officers will do the right thing by denying registration of the phantom unions that our erstwhile colleagues are promoting,” the labour centres said in a letter to the minister which was jointly signed by the President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and the President of TUC, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama.

The letter which was obtained by our reporter cited various labour acts to back their claims.

Both the NLC and TUC alleged that having failed in their bid to lead the NLC following the successful conduct of the rescheduled election at the 10th delegates conference of the congress in March, 2015, some of our colleagues have been making concerted efforts to distabilize the industrial relations scene in the country.

“This started with the effort to fractionalise the NLC which failed after almost two years of trying. In their desperation they have now purported to float a new trade union centre with the name United Labour Congress of Nigeria. In the last couple of months, they have collected forms for the registration of dozens of shell trade unions without membership.

“The project is being coordinated by a former trade unionist whose chamber is coordinating the efforts to register these mushroom unions. The former unionists, now a politician, had in the past failed in her bid to be appointed general secretary of the NLC.

“Along with the United Labour Congress of Nigeria, the list of shell unions being proposed to be registered by this group include the following:

“Nigeria Automobile Technician Union; Motor Mechanis and Technician Union of Nigeria; Association of Professional and Corporate Drivers of Nigeria; Association of Federal Universities Pensioners; Association of Hospitals and Administration Phamacists of Nigeria; Road Transport and Allied Senior Staff Association of Nigeria;  National Union of Mass Transport Allied Workers; Creative Workers Union of Nigeria; Association of Retired Civil Servants of Nigeria; Judiciary Senior Staff Association of Nigeria; and Senior Staff Association of Medical Health and Allied Workers Union  of Nigeria.”

Both Wabba and Bobboi said  a cursory look at the above list will show, these are areas that have been adequately covered by existing unions.

The NLC and TUC cited the Trade Union Act CAP T14, LFN, 2004, Section 3(2) which provides thus: “But no trade union shall be registered to represent workers or employers in a place where there already exist a trade union.”

Similarly, it quoted the section on registration of trade unions, in Part 1, Section 2, which is very explicit that unregistered trade unions and federations are prohibited from functioning. Under this section a federation of trade unions shall not come into existence until it is registered.

The letter reads further, “under the 2005 Amendment, the Section 34 of the Principal Act Amendment, it was also explicitly stated that a federation of trade unions may be registered if (a) 1. (b) “it is made up of 12 or more trade unions, none of which shall have been a member of another registered federation of trade unions.” Honourable minister sir, by the virtue of this provision all NLC and TUC affiliates cannot jump ship to another federation.

“The promoters of the so called United Labour Congress, which your office had informed us has not been registered has been going about the airwaves and print/social media speaking as a trade union federation, and spreading mis-information and falsehood about the NLC especially, and our two centres in general.

Source : Leadership