The Federal Government has pleaded with the Nigerian Labour congress (NLC) to cancel its planned protest over the prolonged strike of the Academic union of Universities (ASUU) and other university-based unions scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday Next week.
The NLC had on July 17 announced that it would stage a nationwide protest on July 26 and 27 to pressure the Federal Government to resolve the five-month-long strike by ASUU and other university-based unions.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, made the appeal on Thursday at a meeting with the leadership of NLC in his office.
Also in attendance at the meeting were the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ms. Kachollom Daju.
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Ngige, in his speech, updated the labour leaders of efforts so far made by the Federal Government to resolve the impasse in the university system.
He also urged the NLC not to mobilize support for Labour Party as it would amount to a violation of the Trade Union Act.
The minister urged the NLC’s National Executive Council (NEC) to reconsider the planned rally, saying hoodlums might take advantage of it to cause breach of security.
Ngige also expressed the concern of the government that politicians might hijack the rally to wreak havoc in the country.
Furthermore, Ngige told NLC not go ahead with plans to campaign for the Labour Party in the 2023 General election.
“I heard when you said you are mobilizing for Labour Party. But, a trade union is not a political party. Look at the Trade Union Act. It does not allow trade unions to use their contributions to support any political party,” he said
The minister further said that, “the masses might wrongly interpret the rally as a ploy by the NLC to enhance the chances of the Labour Party (LP) Presidential candidate, a situation which could spur the supporters of the other political parties into violence.
“Section 40 of the constitution is clear on Freedom of Association. One of the provisions is that people of like minds can organize themselves and form a political party. There is also a provision that people in work or employment can organize themselves into unions. They are two parallels. Parallels don’t meet.
I heard when you said you are mobilizing for Labour Party. But, a trade union is not a political party. Look at the Trade Union Act. It does not allow trade unions to use their contributions to support any political party.”
However, the plea by the federal government has been rejected by the NLC. They have insisted that the two-day national protest will go ahead as planned.