ORGANISED labour, yesterday, crippled government activities Kaduna State as civil servants at the state and local government levels abandoned their duty posts to attend a rally organized by labour to protest perceived anti-workers policies of Governor Nasir El-Rufai-led All Progressives Congress, APC, government.
This came as labour threatened a nationwide industrial action should the governor fail to rescind his alleged anti-workers’ policies in the next seven days. Aggrieved workers, who thronged the secretariat of the Kaduna State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, from all parts of the state, with several placards bearing various inscriptions, chanted anti-El-Rufai’s songs and called the governor unprintable names, regretting voting for him. Though armed policemen waited in trucks outside the secretariat, men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, frisked anyone going through the gates for weapons, the rally was peaceful. Addressing the angry workers under the scorching sun, factional President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba said both leaders of NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, had met and resolved that the governor must among others, within the next seven days pay the workers their 11 months’ salary arrears, or a nationwide industrial action would be declared.
Other decisions by NLC and TUC included that “All workers of Kaduna State should fill the verification form and indicate whether to join labour or opt out. But, you should make a copy of that form and keep it with your union officials for the records. We believe that the governor wants to rig the process and announce that most workers had indicated that they don’t want to join any trade union. With that, he can abrogate unionism here and deal with you badly. So, keep a copy with your union officials. In the next seven days, if El-Rufai does not pay workers their sixth to ninth months’ salary arrears, pay compensation to the victims of his verification exercises, the following will happen – We are going to mobilise all workers in the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and other trade unions outside the public service to stop work for a day in solidarity with Kaduna State workers. “If the governor refuses to heed to these demands, we are going to move to Kaduna – All workers from 36 states of the Nigeria and from their LGAs. We are going to occupy Kaduna with our colleagues, market man and women, artisans and artistes, Bank Workers, Construction workers, drivers’ unions and everyone that is sympathetic to organise labour.”