Following recent decision by the President of a faction of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero, to form another labour union, United Labour Congress (ULC), the National President, National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), Comrade Oladele Hunsu, has described the move as unfortunate and a big blow to labour movement in the country.
Hunsu, in a chat with New Telegraph yesterday, said labour movement in Nigeria needed to be more cohesive at this time rather than disintegrating, adding that the only gainers in the ongoing dispensation were government and employers.
The garment workers’ president, while lamenting the development, further said workers who look up to labour for protection from employers’ anti-labour activities would be disappointed in the leadership of the movement in the country. He said: “There is something we always say in labour movement that ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’
This is not the best time for this to have happened because workers look up to the movement for protection. “We need a strong movement to confront government and employers, now that it is divided, how can we achieve that. Some of us are not happy.
The challenges facing Nigerian workers need a strong labour movement to battle it. There is the issue of minimum wage that has been hit by inflation. There is the issue of job losses.
“The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) confirmed recently that about four million Nigerians have lost their jobs. That is not even true; they are being economical with the truth. These are areas that should be confronted. So, division at this time is saddening.”
The labour leader, who expressed hope in the ability of a united movement to tackle government and employers’ anti-labour activities, advised both parties to work out ways to come together as one formidable body.
“It is government that profits from this division; it is the class enemy that profits from the system.”
Speaking on the activities of the various unions in the outgoing year, Hunsu agreed that world over it was difficult for any labour movement to be active as it was in the past in a stagnated economy, saying this was the more reason the movement should be united and not fragmented.
It would be recalled that Ajaero, last week, led 25 industrial unions to form ULC months after main-tain a splinter group of NLC.
Ajaero who doubles as the general secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), was elect- ed unopposed as the president of the new group at its maiden delegates conference in Lagos.
In his acceptance speech, Ajaero promised to fight for the interest of workers and ensure a more equitable Nigeria where workers’ dignity and the work place would become less prone to impunity.
”The new labour centre instead of weakening the movement will present labour as a creative partner that has strategic benefits for its publics, especially the employers and the government,” he said.
The ULC president also noted that the issue of NLC faction was over and that the new union was not in competition with any other group.
The affiliates of ULC include NUPENG, NUEE, Nigeria Union of Mine Workers, National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Employees and the Nigeria Union of Rail Workers. Others are the National Union of Lottery Agents and Employees, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers.
Read more at https://newtelegraphonline.com/division-labour-movement-bad-workers-says-hunsu/
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