By Deborah Tolu-Kolawole
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria on Friday vowed to ground economic activities in Lagos State as parts of its protest against the ban on the operations of its affiliate union, the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria by the state government.
It also directed its members to mobilise for a one-day protest on Monday in preparation for withdrawal of service.
The National President of the TUC, Festus Osifo, who made this known during a press briefing in Abuja, said all affiliate unions of TUC including the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions among others are expected to join the action.
Osifo said the TUC had employed all the necessary tools of engagement for amicable resolution, including writing letters and holding meetings with the Lagos State government on the issue, adding that the RTEAN also went to court and got a judgment from the National Industrial Court which said the state government had no powers to proscribe a trade union legally registered by the Federal Government.
Osifo added that the state government refused to allow the union to operate, saying that TUC would utilise trade unionism powers to protest the ban on its affiliate union.
The labour leader also called on the Ministry of Labour and Employment, which has the power to register and deregister trade unions, to caution the Lagos State government.
He added, “It is against this backdrop that we said on September 4 that within two weeks, if the Lagos State government remains adamant in resolving the issue, we are going to carry out a protest and after the protest and there is no resolution in sight, there is going to be a total shutdown of Lagos State, because what the state government is doing against a legally registered trade union is not acceptable to us.
“In order for us to carry out a successful protest in Lagos on Monday, we informed the Director-General of the Department of State Services, the Inspector-General of Police, and the National Security Adviser. The reason is that we want them to provide us with adequate security and we have informed all our affiliates to proceed to Lagos next week.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday confirmed the release of the four leaders of the Nigeria Union Road Transport Workers by the police.
NLC President, Mr Joe Ajaero, who confirmed the release in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, said that the officials were released on Thursday night after staying for more than a month in custody.
The released officials were the National President, Tajudeen Baruwa, General Secretary, Anthony Chukudi, Olayi Odion, National Trustee and Principal Assistant Secretary, Abdulrasak Yemi.