The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has kicked against the registration of two new academic unions by the federal government.
Recall that Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, presented letters of recognition to two new unions; Congress for Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) and the Nigeria Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA), amid the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba who has now reacted to this, called for the withdrawal of the recognition on the grounds that the registration of the unions contravened the laws guiding trade unions.
Wabba also said that the recognition is designed to “destroy” cordial relations.
The NLC President further averred that asides Ngige previously revealing that the new unions applied for registration in 2018, which according to him is a clear contradiction of the minister’s claim of regrouping as justification for awarding certificates to them, article 3(2) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention 87 on freedom of association and protection of the right to organise also makes it clear that public authorities should not interfere in the activities of trade unions.
The statement read;
“The question on the mind of every rational Nigerian is what is your motive for registering CONUA and MAMDA? Is it re-grouping of trade unions or is it a response to the application made by CONUA and MAMDA since 2018 to be registered unions?
“Unfortunately, you have accused us of interference when the opposite is the reality.
“Your biased attempt to ‘re-group’ an existing trade union or actually individuals (something our labour laws never contemplated) in utter disregard to tripartism which is a core pillar of ILO is an attempt to interfere with, infiltrate and balkanize an existing trade union — at best to score on vendetta and at worst to destroy cordial industrial relations in Nigeria.
“We are also concerned that your ’patriotic‘ intervention to rescue the so-called expelled and insufficiently represented academic staff in our universities came after you publicly admitted your utmost frustration with your inability to resolve the ASUU strike.
“Overall, Honourable Minister, we still want to believe that you were not properly advised on this matter.
“As the Chief Labour Law Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we believe that you will take advantage of our presentation of the true position of the law to redress this grave injustice done to our labour jurisprudence by the ‘awarding’ of trade union certificates to CONUA and NAMDA.”