The government in a statement signed by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Bolaji Adebiyi, said the strike threat issued by the group amounted to economic sabotage.
The ULC, a factionalised body of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, had threatened to commence nationwide strike today unless government addressed its demands, ranging from payment of salary arrears to provision of infrastructure, especially roads.
The statement read: “The attention of the Federal Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige has been drawn to several media publications and statements signed by Mr. Didi Adodo on behalf of the association, the United Labour Congress, ULC, as its Secretary General.
‘’The statements gave the false impression that this association is a government recognised federation of trade union. The statement and letters issued in the last few weeks include those that gave the Federal Government a 14- day ultimatum stating that some trade unions it “claims” as affiliates will go on strike over some issues, which are of national importance.
‘’The Trade Unions Act, CAP T14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, is explicitly clear on how a group of trade unions can coalesce to form a Federation of Trade Unions.
“Section 35(1)(b) states inter alia: ‘A Federation of Trade Unions may be registered by the Registrar if … 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.”
“The promoters of ULC should fulfill this requirement to qualify to be registered. To call out workers on ‘essential services’ for a national strike without any major trade dispute with their direct employers will be tantamount to blatant violation of our extant labour laws and international labour standards.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the government will not fold its arms and allow any group of persons take the law into its hands by brazenly threatening to commit economic sabotage by shutting down essential services in the oil and gas, power, and aviation sectors as threatened by the promoters of ULC.
“Members of the trade unions who are sympathetic to the ULC mentioned in the press statement are advised to go about their duties in the interest of peaceful industrial relations environment and for the good of our national economy.”