NLC, TUC Protest Verification Policy By Kaduna Govt.

NLC, TUC Protest Verification Policy By Kaduna Govt.Civil servants in Kaduna State have shunned their offices in protest against the new verification exercise introduced by the state government mandating them to indicate if they want to be part of a labour union or not.

In their hundreds, they converged on the state NLC secretariat on Wednesday with representatives of affiliate unions and civil society organisations to hold a mini rally in Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria.

They condemned what they described as the deliberate attempt by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to enslave them and destabilise unionism in the state public service.

The workers under the umbrella of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) alleged that most of them had not been paid salaries for about eight months.

Speaking in company of the TUC President, Bobbi Kaigama, and a rights activist, Festus Okoye; the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, explained that one of the columns in the form required workers to indicate whether they wanted to belong to a union or not.

He added that the new directive was strange to them.

“It contravenes the labour laws concerning to employees/employers condition of service,” he said.

Also at the rally was the former NLC Vice President, Issa Aremu, who said that the organised labour would use all legal means at their disposal to ensure that the new policy does not stand, maintaining that the governor had no right to meddle into labour affairs.

Reacting to the protest, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Finance, Suleiman Kwari, said that the exercise was aimed at ascertaining the true number of its workforce and not targeted to destabilise the unions.

He explained that there was nothing wrong with the government asking the workers to indicate if they wanted to belong to a union or not since it was optional to do so.

The commissioner also disclosed that those who were being owed salaries had issues with their documentation.

The Kaduna State has given the workers till Monday, March 28, to fill and return the forms and has vowed to apply sanctions against defaulters.

Labour Tackles Kaduna Govt Over Fresh Biometric Exercise

KadunaThe organised labour union is set for a showdown with the Kaduna State government over the introduction of a fresh verification exercise.

According to them, the exercise will compel civil servants in the state to fill forms indicating if they still want to be members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) or not.

Reacting to this, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, and his TUC counterpart, Bobbai Kaigama, have directed the workers to disregard the order by not filling the form.

He said the new screening exercise was against International Labour Organisation Convention on Rights of Workers, and a deliberate measure to destabilise unionism in the Kaduna State’s public service.

Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved workers, the TUC Chairman in Kaduna State, Shehu Mohammed, stressed that they wanted the government to expunge the portion of the verification form that stated that civil servants should decide whether or not, they want to belong to a labour union in the new state government’s rules of engagement.

According to the workers, the Kaduna State government had issued out a form titled “Special Exercise on Staff Verification”, where it requested all workers under its payroll to either fill a “Yes or No”, for membership of a union.

Reacting to the allegation, Governor Nasir El-Rufai, through his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, said that the exercise was a continuation of the previous one that commenced in 2015 and not a new one.

He explained that the verification process was necessary to establish a comprehensive data and therefore, could not be considered conclusive until the government was reasonably satisfied that it had eliminated ghosts from its payroll.

Regarding union membership, Aruwan said that “the government respects the right of workers to freedom of association”, but stressed that the state government considered that it was democratic that those who wish to exercise this right or not should indicate in writing.

While government insists that the introduction of the form is not to break the ranks of the NLC or TUC in Kaduna State, the workers have agreed to meet by Wednesday to take a definite stand on their next line of action, as they vowed not to sign the controversial form.