… no compromising of labour unity – Wabba
Newly elected president of United Labour Congress of Nigeria (ULC), Joe Ajaero, says the formation of the new labour centre is borne out of strong need to revive the movement and end years of ‘docility’ that has been its lots in recent years.
However, reacting to the development, Ayuba Wabba, president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said there was no compromising the unity of the labour movement.
Ajaero, who spoke with BusinessDay in Lagos on Monday, following the coming together of about 16 unions cutting across sectors of the economy, last weekend, to seek registration as a federation, said the recent past and current labour leadership in Nigeria lacked the “capacity and vision” to give direction to distraught workers most of whom are being owed months of salaries across states and local governments.
“In the recent past and currently, Nigerian workers and her people including Nigeria and government have not received the vibrant and progressive support of the movement in designing and “actioning” programme and policies that make for effective governance.
“The character and nature of the labour movement in today has begun to impede and undermine its capacity to aggressively deliver on its promises as a platform for rendering continuous service to Nigerian workers, masses and government.
“There is an unfortunate disconnect between the trade union movement from its primary and secondary constituencies, a disconnect between it and the workers including the masses and the nation’s governance structures and processes it ought to support,” Ajaero said.
Ajaero, who is also the general secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), said there was an urgent need to arrest the continued descent of the labour movement, which was the driving force behind the new labour centre.
Ajaero, who contested the outcome of the election that threw up Ayuba Wabba as the president of the NLC in March 2015, on the allegation of manipulation of the electoral process, said “the labour movement has lost its soul and became like a fish out of water seriously castrated thus unable to respond effectively to the needs of its constituents.
“There is therefore an urgent need for a renewal and rebirth of the movement in order to recreate a movement capable of fulfilling its potentials to Nigerian workers, the masses and Nigeria.”
But Wabba said the unity of labour could not be compromised. In a piece entitled “We shall preserve the unity of the NLC,” Wabba said, “Our attention has been drawn to a report in which Comrade Joe Ajaero, the general secretary of NUEE, and Igwe Achese, president of NUPENG, claimed they have formed a new labour centre called the United Labour Congress (ULC). It will be recalled that following their defeat at the March 2015 rescheduled election in their bid to lead the NLC, these comrades have been parading themselves as “president,” and “deputy president” of NLC, respectively.
“The congress would like to assure our members across the length and breadth of the country and the general public that the leadership of the NLC is committed to the unity of the working class in the country notwithstanding the latest declaration by comrades Ajaero and Achese. We shall do everything within our power to preserve the unity and coherence of the labour movement which was handed down to us by our forebears in the movement.”