The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has announced plans to withdraw services from both public and private organisations in Kaduna State for five days in protest of the mass sacking of thousands of workers by the state government.
This was disclosed on Thursday by the NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba on Thursday, as he addressed newsmen after the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the NLC. Wabba also said the five day withdrawal of services by workers will become an indefinite strike if the state government fails to recall the workers.
He condemned the decision of the Governor Nasir El-Rufai to sack the almost 4,000 workers who were mostly from 23 local government areas in the state. He said: “The CWC has decided and also recommended to the National Executive Council that labour will withdraw all services from either public or private. When I mean all services, it means all services for all sectors of the economy for five days in the first instance.
“And where there is no remorse, it is going to be a total action because we believe that El-Rufai is not alone in this action; we believe that there is a neo-liberal forces and some governments are also part of it. This action is going to be total and unconditional and therefore, all unions will be issuing statements and directives to their members to take this directive seriously and that the action will go ahead.”
Wabba went on to say the action was taken as a last resort due to all the communications that were written on the issue to the state government and was yet to receive any attention. He said the CWC therefore thought that workers should not be allowed to die in silence as thousands of workers who had been sacked were yet to be paid in line with the provisions of the law.
“More worrisome is the policy targeted at workers that have spent more than 30 years in service. In fact, the policy said that once you are up to 50 years in service you will be disengaged and be sent off like slave or at worse like a dog without any entitlement.
“Secondly, the letter which we have seen, indicated that their entitlement will be paid in due course and that is the same letter that was issued to those teachers that were disengaged a year ago and therefore we look at this as very serious.
“In fact, it is something every Nigerian must condemn. That is why Nigerians must back labour on this action that labour has proposed against the Kaduna state governor,” he said.
The NLC president stressed that the state government had violated all the known laws that regulate labour and industrial relation in Nigeria with some sort of disdain while carrying out his decision to sack the workers.
He also said the CWC condemned the conversion of workers to casuals by the Kaduna state government under the pretext of paucity of funds or drop in revenue.
“The issue of using as an excuse, the paucity of funds is also faulted because of the fact that the same state declared an excess of over N50 billion as internally generated revenue.
”We know as a matter of fact that Kaduna state is one of the states receiving fat revenue from the federation account and therefore one wonders why Kaduna state government will indulge in this anti-people and anti-workers posture and decision,” he said.
Wabba further disclosed that the CWC condemned the insecurity in the country, in particular Kaduna state, saying that the mass sack would therefore compound the security situation.