Workers in Kaduna State have frowned at moves by the State government to distribute consent forms to civil servants on which they are to indicate their interest whether to belong to the union as well as to give their consent to deduct their check-up dues from their salaries.
The NLC Chairman in Kaduna State, Ayuba Magaji said, during a press conference on Thursday, that such a move was a clear interference in the activities of the trade union and violates the provisions of both International and National Labour Laws.
He said that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No.87 of 1946 on freedom of association and protection of the right to organize, and Convention No. 98 of 1949, on right to organising and collective bargaining.
According to him, the conventions were ratified and domesticated by Nigeria in 1963, and are in sections 17, 23, 24 and 25 of the trade Union Act of 2005.
He also stated that the State government should note that trade Union activities are under item 34, Part 1 of the second schedule of the Exclusive Legislative list, saying, ‘and therefore are not under the powers of State government to streamline, thus any decision that negates the principles of collective bargaining or social dialogue is contestable in the court of law.
To this end, he posited that even if the State Government is leaning on provisions of voluntarism clause as contained in the same Trade Union Act of 2005, which is an individual decision to be related to the trade union leadership, but NEVER a State Government or its agent’s affairs.
The Labour chieftain argued that “a recent judgment entered by Her Ladyship Honorable Justice O.A. Obaseki-Osaghae, between Kaduna State government and NUT Kaduna state wing, delivered on the 2nd December 2021, at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Abuja Judicial Division, declared that the State government lacks the constitutional/statutory vires to interfere with the internal running and management of trade unions in the State.
“Based on the above considerations, we wish to categorically reject the decision of the State Government, and we call on all Civil Servants in the state to resist any attempt by the Government to deny us our constitutional rights by suffocating unions through the subversion of rule of law.
“We also wish to build the confidence of all workers that we have defeated the anti-labour elements that advocated for the administration of the same forms in 2016; we shall again do the same in 2022 and beyond, our collective resolute, freedom conscious resistance, overwhelming members’ solidarity shall see us through very soon the anti-workers tendencies in our dear State.
“In conclusion, we wish to assure our members and the general public of our unflinching support as social partners to the State Government in bringing more socio-economic development to our dear state through robust industrial relationship, and as social justice advocates, we shall not relent in our efforts to legally and logically contest any breach of our fundamental human right and in defending the interest of the working class in our beloved State”.