EletiofeNURTW: We No Longer Have Confidence In You -...

NURTW: We No Longer Have Confidence In You – NLC Tackles Labour Minister, Lalong Over ‘Breach Of Constitution’

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has stated that it no longer has confidence in the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, in the way he is handling the lingering leadership crisis in the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).

In a letter  titled “We no longer have confidence in you”, to the Minister  dated October 23, 2023, NLC accused  Lalong of breaching the extant labour laws, the constitution and International Labour Organisation, ILO, standards

The letter signed by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, also accused Lalong of lacking integrity, and competence to superintend the Ministry.

The NLC said it would not watch the continued desecration and defilement of the nation’s industrial relations clime which ought to be the objective of the Labour Ministry’s office.

The letter reads “It has become very important once again that we register our strong disappointment with your recent utterances and actions as they concern one of the most critical issues contained in the October 2nd Agreement reached between us and the federal government. Your advice to a group that was clearly sponsored by the State and chaperoned by the Police to contrive a crisis in the NURTW to forcefully seek to hijack the leadership of the Union to go ahead and hold Delegates’ Conferences in defiance of the Constitution of the Union and good conscience is most unfortunate and a recipe for nationwide industrial crisis.

“We are aghast that you have allowed yourself for some inexplicable reasons to be dragged into towing a path that is completely at variance with the traditions and practice of Industrial Relations in Nigeria.

“Where is the expected professionalism in such a piece of advice and where is the neutrality and justice in suggesting to individuals who had renounced their membership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at the time of the Union’s election to proceed to hold Delegates’ Conferences that had already held in keeping with the dictates of the Union and the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment which you now superintend over?

“NLC does not want to see this as a deliberate plan at sabotaging the October 2nd agreement. The Position of the Attorney General of the Federation and your office represent, the key ministries in Nigeria where the occupants are expected to be very professional in their judgments and completely unbiased in making decisions as it has deep implications for the health of the nation’s workplaces and economy. It requires a height of candour and mien that would be brought to bear to protect the nation from unnecessary crises and social dislocations.

“We are surprised that you have acted in such a manner that negates the demands of that high office and the high competence which we had felt you would bring to bear in running the office. We never expected this level of apparent political contamination of an industrial relations matter which has a specialised code of ethics and professionalism.

”This is what happens when we do not stand by the truth and when we do not care about the cravings and dictates of honesty and transparency in all our dealings.

“NLC had looked forward to having a robust engagement with you at the helms of affairs in the Ministry but your actions have completely made us lose trust and confidence in your ability to deliver justice and fair play which is required at all times by the social partners if we are to make progress within the nation’s workplaces.

”Instead of dredging the waters, your actions have contributed to polluting it the more and endangering the nation with it.”

The NLC, therefore, advised Lalong to remove himself from the blinding political sentiments and allow the democratically elected NURTW President and his executives to run the affairs of the Union.

It added: “Our advice to you honourable minister, is to remove yourself from the arena; strip yourself of the blinding political sentiments and expected accruals and quickly redirect your footsteps as it concerns the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, and allow the democratically elected President and his Executives to run the affairs of the Union in keeping with their constitution and our national standards.

“We will find it very difficult to continue to work with you and your ministry if you continue defying our laws, our constitution, ILO standards and our traditions and practices of Industrial Relations. We will take actionable steps to ensure that remedies are brought to bear in this your conscious meddling and interference in trade union matters in the country. Trade Unions are not trophies that you win for people neither are they war booties that you claim for anybody.

“Once again, your position as it concerns NURTW remains unacceptable to us and we are giving you the opportunity to reverse yourself to avoid unsavoury consequences as we will not fold our hands and watch the continued desecration and defilement of the nation’s industrial relations clime which ought to be the objective of your office but which you have chosen to flagrantly disregard.”

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