A faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress on Sunday confirmed emerging division within the fold of the NLC as it indicated its readiness to form a parallel labour centre in the country.
The faction, under the auspices of the Integrity Group of the Nigeria Labour Movement, led the sacked General Secretary of the NLC, Mr. John Odah, described the congress as a spent force that was unworthy of ascribing to itself the role to defend the interest of workers and Nigerians.
The group stated in a statement by the General Secretary of the Non Academic Staff Union, and former National Vice President of the NLC, Mr. Peters Adeyemi, and the President of the National Union of Hotels and Personal Services Workers, Mr. Leke Success, that a new labour centre was long overdue in the country.
Adeyemi and Success also faulted the Acting General secretary of the NLC, Mr. Owei Lakemfa, for indicting the Federal Government for the moves to establish the new labour centre.
Lakemfa had raised the alarm over what he called the Federal Government’s moves to divide the labour movement in the country through the registration of a pro-subsidy labour centre.
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, however, denied any such move, saying his ministry which is entrusted with the responsibility of registering such centres had not received any application to that regard.
The new faction said the move to ascribe the proposed labour centre to the government was shocking as the crisis rocking the NLC started before the advent of the President Goodluck administration.
Adeyemi and Success noted that the crisis had culminated in the filing of three court cases against the leadership of the NLC at the National Industrial Court since 2011.
The duo also pointed out that the crisis would have culminated in the change of the position of the General Secretary of the congress, but for the assassination of the Principal Secretary to the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, who was billed to resume in that capacity at the national headquarters of the congress.
The statement read in part, “It is obvious from Lakemfa’s remonstrations over our move to register as a new labour centre that he is a very poor student of not just Nigeria’s labour laws, but also of the recent history of trade unionism in Nigeria. While it is not our role to educate him, we wish to state, however, that the Labour Act is clear on the requirements for the registration of a centre.
“If as a group we feel no longer compatible with the tendencies or trajectories driving the NLC, we have the right to move out and form a centre. No government; and not even a million NLCs can stop us if we fulfill the terms of existing labour laws in Nigeria.
“Our single minded determination to achieve this derives from the empirical evidence that the NLC, as presently constituted, is no longer in the position to defend the interest of workers and the aspirations of the masses. The need for a new labour centre is therefore long overdue.”