The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) on Friday vowed to ground economic activities in Lagos State as part of its protest against the ban on the operations of its affiliate union, the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) by the state government. It also directed its members to mobilise for a one-day protest on Monday in preparation for the withdrawal of service. Addressing journalists during a press briefing in Abuja, the National President of the TUC, Festus Osifo, said all affiliate unions of TUC including the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions among others are expected to join the action.
Mr. Osifo disclosed that the TUC had employed all the necessary tools of engagement for amicable resolution, including writing letters and having meetings with the Lagos State government on the issue. He added that the RTEAN also approached the court and got a judgment from the National Industrial Court which said the state government had no powers to proscribe a trade union legally registered by the Federal Government.
The labour leader also said the state government declined to let the union operate as it should, saying that TUC would utilise trade unionism powers to protest the ban on its affiliate union.
Osifo also called on the Ministry of Labour and Employment, which has the power to register and deregister trade unions, to caution the Lagos State government.
“It is against this backdrop that we said on September 4 that within two weeks, if the Lagos State government remains adamant in resolving the issue, we are going to carry out a protest and after the protest and there is no resolution in sight, there is going to be a total shutdown of Lagos State, because what the state government is doing against a legally registered trade union is not acceptable to us.
“In order for us to carry out a successful protest in Lagos on Monday, we informed the Director-General of the Department of State Services, the Inspector-General of Police, and the National Security Adviser. The reason is that we want them to provide us with adequate security and we have informed all our affiliates to proceed to Lagos next week,” Osita added.