The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has condemned in strong terms the massive sack of thousands of workers in kaduna State.
Speaking in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the National Executive Council meeting, the President Nigeria Labour Congress Comrade Ayuba Wabba said, the Central Working Committee condemns the conversion of workers to casuals by the Kaduna state government under the pretext of paucity of funds or drop in revenue.
Ayuba said that the CWC has posited and looked at all the facts associated with the issue and have said that the Kaduna state governor, as usual, has violated all the known laws that regulate labour and industrial relation in Nigeria with some sorts of disdain because casualization is criminalised in Nigeria.
He further said, in a bid to drive home its point, NLC has decided to shut down economic activities in the country for five days in both private and public sector, after which the warning strike would take another dimension if nothing is done to address the issue.
“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 and 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”.
“Secondly, the law of redundancy on how to declare redundancy is also very clear and for the avoidance of doubt, the CWC reasoned that whereas the position of the law is very clear about the fact that trade unions and workers representatives must first be consulted before declaration of any redundancy.
Even the terms and scope of redundancy must be discussed and agreed. There are precedents and requirements to be met before declaring redundancy. All of these have been violated and it is a matter of grave concern to Nigerians and Nigerian workers and that is why it is condemnable”.
He further said “CWC also reasoned that even those that were disengaged by the same el-Rufai were not paid. The teachers that were disengaged in their thousands with the so – called competency test even when we complained then that even deceased teachers were on the list of those who passed the competency test and therefore justified the fact that the competency test was a mere excuse to actually sack workers. Those workers in their thousands have not been paid their benefits as required by law and therefore that is why CWC is taking this issue seriously”.
“CWC also reasoned that the insecurity in the country, but particularly in Kaduna, which we have raised more than a year ago that with the mass sack of workers; it then means that bread winners will not be able to take care of their families and their children will be thrown out of school and therefore the security situation will get compounded” he added.
Ayuba added that “CWC has decided and has 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; that neo-liberal forces and some governments are also part of it”.
He said, “More worrisome is the policy targeted at workers that have spent more than 30 years in service or some more than 20 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”.
According to him, the action is taken as a last resort, it would be total, and unconditional and all its affiliate unions will be issuing statements and directives to their members to take this directive seriously and that the action will go ahead.