The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has condemned Governor Alex Otti’s government’s interference with the state council of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) leadership structure.
NLC president Joe Ajaero made the condemnation in a letter Sunday addressed to Mr Otti.
Mr Ajaero said NLC was alarmed by a letter written to the NURTW, its affiliate, on June 20, by the secretary to the state government, Kenneth Kalu.
He noted that in the letter, the NURTW president was advised by the Abia government to consider some individuals for privileged positions in the road union’s state council.
The NLC president claimed that Mr Otti’s government listed for positions included Chukwuma Anazodo as chairman, Chika Arthur as deputy chairman, Tochi Ephraim as treasurer and Azubuike Victor as financial secretary, Anyanwu Ogaraku as organising secretary, Ogbuagu Ukadike (member), Eze Okwulehie (trustee), Alozia Onuoha (member), Nwankudu Onyedikachi (member) and Chimauche Okorie (member).
“Our first reaction to the letter when it was reported to us by the union was that it was a phoney. We could not imagine that a government, elected under the banner of Labour Party, could have written such a letter,” Mr Ajaero said.
Mr Ajaero said Article 3 of Convention 87 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) states that “(3.1) Workers’ and employers’ organisations shall have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules” and that the public authorities “shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof.”
Mr Ajaero added, “It is therefore important to point out to Your Excellency (Otiti) that ILO Convention 87 is a fundamental convention which is globally considered sacred and inviolable.”
The NLC chief pointed out that Mr Otti’s attempt to take over the leadership of the Abia NURTW was rash, ill-informed and illegal.
“We demand that the government should denounce and immediately withdraw the SSG’s letter. A guarantee by the Abia state government to refrain from interfering in the activities of trade unions in the state is also imperative.”
He urged “the use of social dialogue to address any grievance the state government may have against the current leadership of the NURTW in Abia.
“We look forward to your immediate response,” Mr Ajaero said.