By Deborah Usman
Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC has urged Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state to direct his commissioner for Local Government Affairs to cease from interfering in the activities of NULGE, especially with regards to the forthcoming NULGE Kaduna State delegates conference.
NLC also implored El-Rufai to instruct the Commissioner to release check off dues withheld for the past six months from the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees to avert industrial action.
In a statement signed by NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and made available to journalists, said “the withholding of check off dues belonging to NULGE by the Kaduna State Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, is not only a perpetuity in impunity, but also a direct violation of a recent judgement of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria forbidding any ministry, department, or agency of the Kaduna State government from withholding check off dues belonging to trade unions in the state.”
According to the NLC boss, “The leadership of NULGE has informed the commissioner that he has no locus standi to withhold the check off dues of NULGE or to interfere in the activities of the union, especially with regards to elections in NULGE.”
NLC expressed concern that the commissioner has allegedly “unilaterally decided to reverse the progress being made and put organised labour and the Kaduna State government once again at daggers drawn.
“The conduct at the commissioner for Local Government Affairs has only exacerbated our issues and further worsened the plight of workers in Kaduna State.
“It is also important to point out that the actions of the commissioner constitute a serious infraction on Section 40 of Nigeria’s Constitution and the International Labour Organisation Convention 87 on freedom of association as ratified by Nigeria. Convention 87 says workers have a right to elect their own leaders without interference from government and or employers,”Wabba said. NLC, however, commended the state government for being one of the first to commence payment of the N30, 000 new national minimum wage, saying “this is a sign of good things for Kaduna State workers.”