NLC shuts down CAC amidst resistance from TUC
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday, shut the headquarters of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Abuja, as earlier threatened at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting last week.
The leadership of the congress, led by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, stormed the Maitama headquarters of the commission early, yesterday, to protest alleged anti-labour activities of the management.
Meanwhile, this was not without a resistance from members of a sister union, the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) that has arrived the premises of the CAC ahead of NLC protesters.
This led to confrontation between members of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), an affiliate of the NLC, and SSASCGOC, an affiliate of Trade Union Congress (TUC). SSASCGOC members were led by its General Secretary, Ayo Olorunfemi.
There were accusations and counter-accusations by the leadership of the two unions on issues bordering on jurisdiction and the rights to organise and unionise the members of the commission between NLC and TUC.
Amidst the confusion, a young man, who attempted to set on fire NLC buses parked to block the entrance of the building, was arrested by policemen, who were standing by to ensure the picketing did not degenerate.
Wabba, addressing the workers, accused the organisation of trampling on the rights of workers.
He said: “All the female workers with their husbands working here, the registrar transferred them away and left their husbands here, causing problem in their various homes.
“We are here to make the point and to ensure workers’ rights are not meant to be trampled upon. The fundamental issue is not about unionisation, no, it is about respecting workers’ rights. It is not about the issue of membership, but about defending the workers’ rights.
“For the first instance, we will be here for three days. He (the registrar general) should try to come out to address workers because we have raised some fundamental issue on how he used N250 million to build car pack, how he used N35 million to fumigate office, which is why he is afraid the unions have exposed him; and that is why he is fighting the unions.
“So ,we are saying, we have raised this issue openly, let him come out and defend himself. He is not fighting the unions because of membership, but because the unions have exposed him. In Zone 5, he used N25 million to paint the office.”
Wabba described the young men that attempted to set the buses on fire as hired thugs, saying they were being sponsored.
However, Olorunfemi said the position of SSASCGOC and TUC was based on jurisdiction and membership of the CAC, adding that the NLC has no power to hijack their industrial relations matter.
He said: “The National Industrial Court had on December 17, 2019 declared NLC’s affiliate, AUPCTRE as a junior staff union in line with the Trade Union Act.
The court also granted a perpetual injunction against AUPCTRE from unionsing any senior staff of statutory corporation in Nigeria.”
“Specific reference was made by the judgment to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). SSASCGOC) had moved into some of the statutory corporations including CAC and has effectively taken over the Industrial Relations matters as it affects senior staff in line with the Trade Union Act and the NIC judgments.”
He expressed that it is therefore wrong for NLC to claim any form of jurisdiction on affairs that affects senior staff in CAC, adding that it is SSASCGOC and TUC that have such power.
He added that those who attempted to set fire on the buses were thugs, noting that it is a planned scheme by the NLC to discredit SSASCGOC members.
Meanwhile the Director of Public Affairs, CAC, Duke Ukaga has clarified that the commission was obeying the court judgement on the issue of unionization and jurisdiction between the two trade unions operating in the organisation.
Ukaga, reacting to the picketing of the CAC by the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), led by its mother trade Centre, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) stated that the claim by AUPCTRE and the NLC that management has refused to allow them unionize freely and are compelling them to join a particular labour union was not true.
On the issue of unfair transfers, he said, “there is a standing rule in the public service about spouses working in the same department and office. For the reorganisation of the organisation, the management might in their wisdom post any staff anywhere. Even in their letters of appointment, it’s stated clearly that their appointment is at the pleasure of the commission and they may be sent to work in any of the branches. So, for one to say that they have been unjustly sent somewhere, it’s not true.”
He also refuted the allegation of embezzlement, “we have a standard for fumigation considering the type and size of the building. I can assure you that our management cannot embezzle any government money.
“Our Registrar General is one of the hardworking staff that we have here. He is always among the first to resume and last to close. He has not even travelled abroad since he was appointed.”
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