The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC has petitioned the Abia State governor following the state government’s moves to take over the leadership of the state council of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW.
The Secretary to State Government, SSG, in a letter dated 20th June 2023, referenced SSG/ABS/S.139/VOL.XLII/19 signed by Professor Kenneth Kalu to the President of the NURTW, requested to be allowed to appoint leaders of NURTW in the state.
SSG also requested to be allowed to appoint Mr. Chukwuma Anazodo – Chairman, Mr. Chika Arthur – Deputy Chairman, Mr. Tochi Ephraim- Treasurer, Mr. Azubuike Victor- Financial Secretary, Anyanwu Ogaraku – Organising Secretary.
He also requested that Ogbuagu Ukadike be appointed member of the executive, Mr. EzeOkwulehie- Trustee, Mr. Alozia Onuoha- Member, Nwankudu Onyedikachi – member and Chimauche Okorie – member.
However, the NLC in the petition by its President, Joe Ajaero to Governor Alex Otti, among others, said “Our first reaction to the letter when it was reported to us by the NURTW was that it was a phony but we were reassured of previous discussions with your government on the subject matter.
“We could not imagine that a government elected under the banner of Labour Party could have written such a letter that stands the major pillars of industrial relations and trade unionism on their heads.
“These pillars include the inviolability of the independence of trade unions as guaranteed by Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 9 of Trade Union Act, and Article 3 of Convention 87 of the International Labour Organisation, ILO which Nigeria ratified a few days after independence.
“Article 3 of Convention 87 of the ILO states that workers’ and employers’ organisations shall have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules, to elect their representatives in full freedom, to organise their administration and activities, and to formulate their programmes. The public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof.
“It is important to point out to Your Excellency that ILO Convention 87 is a fundamental convention that is globally considered sacred and inviolable.
“Considering that the letter by the Abia State Government in proposing to take over the leadership of the Abia State Council of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) is rash, ill-informed, and illegal, we demand the following from the Government the denouncing and immediate withdrawal of the SSG’s letter, a guarantee by the Abia State Government to refrain from interfering in the activities of trade unions in the state and the use of social dialogue to address any grievance the state government may have against the current leadership of the NURTW in Abia State.