Ajaero: African Trade unions angry with Nigeria

By Michael Oche
Keywords : Newsletters Human and trade union rights Nigeria

The African regional organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) has frowned at the failure of the Nigerian government to resolve various industrial relations issues impacting Nigerian workers, especially the case of the assault of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero.

In a letter addressed to Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu, general secretary of ITUC-Africa, Akhator Joel Odigie, said despite the trade unions’ show of good faith on government’s ability to resolve the issue, there is no traction towards justice for Ajaero to date.

Nigerian Pilot reports that ITUC-Africa represents the interest of 101 affiliates unions in 52 African nations, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria.

Odigie said the attack on Ajaero remains “unacceptable” and “condemnable”, adding that the African trade union movement had expected the government to ensure swift justice, given the stature of the NLC and its commendable roles in advancing working-class solidarity and contributions to the continent’s development and shared prosperity.

He said, during the recently concluded 5th Delegates Congress of the ITUC-Africa, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya, delegates decided that the organisation takes renewed steps towards the defence, protection and promotion of human and trade union rights.

He said, “The case of the NLC President and the plight of workers in Nigeria were considered, among other issues, urgent matters that the ITUC-Africa must follow up judiciously.

“Given these sad developments and the worsening industrial relations, our appeal demands the following actions:

“Immediate Commencement of Social Dialogue and Negotiations: We urge immediate initiation of genuine and results-oriented social dialogue negotiations with social partners: government, employers and trade unions. It is also essential that agreements as products of the talks are faithfully and timely implemented.

“Intervention in Clearing Arrears: Immediate intervention to clear the many months salary and pension arrears owed to public sector workers and pensioners in the country, including Imo State.

“Guarantee swift and thorough investigation into the bestial attack on the NLC President: we reiterate our call for a genuine and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attack on the NLC President. We call on the government to ensure proper medical treatment for Comrade Joe Ajaero’s injuries and provide adequate compensation for the damages suffered, respecting his social, physical, and psychological well-being. The perpetrators of the attacks must be investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned. African workers have resolved to stage continent-wise picketing of Nigerian embassies and other politico-economic interests if, after 30 days, no apparent signs of progress in this manner are recorded.

“We emphasise the crucial need for these measures to arrest the decline in civility concerning industrial relations and to prevent the misuse of power for resolving disputes. Mr President, your intervention as the Chief Security Officer is vital to upholding the rule of law and restoring order in the country’s industrial landscape. Therefore, Mr President, we urge you to use your good offices and available instruments of office to cause satisfactory closure to these matter”, he added.

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