Pro-democracy and non-governmental organization – Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has dragged the ministry of Labour and productivity, the Nigerian Labour congress and the Labour minister Dr. Chris Ngige to the National Human Rights commission over non-licensing of United Labour Congress (ULC) as an independent Labour Union Centre.
In a three page petition by HURIWA sent to the executive secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Mr. Tony Ojukwu, the group has the Rights commission to impress it upon the Federal Ministry of Labour and productivity to respect the constitutional provision of freedom of association to grant the license to the United Labour Congress (ULC) with immediate effect.
HURIWA said it may consider other measures if after a two weeks the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity fails to address the matter satisfactorily. The media statement was endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf.
In the petition dated July 1st 2019, HURIWA stated thus: That the federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Labour denies workers the right to choose and to organize themselves into Unions; it has refused to register more than 40 trade unions that are seeking registration in the country despite having met all the stringent conditions for registration.
That the purposes of these actions of the NLC are all geared towards not just denying workers their natural right to freely associate but to create a monopoly that would allow unpopular cabals to continue having a stranglehold on the nation’s trade union movement. This enables them make hefty personal demands on politicians and extract patronage at the detriment of Nigerian workers.
HURIWA also accused the leadership of NLC of using the instruments of violence against Nigerian workers democratically engaging employers in Nigeria. “They have hired armed thugs to inflict heavy injuries on both fellow trade union leaders, workers, passers-by and Journalists all in a bid to ruthlessly establish hegemony over Nigerian workers”
“NLC at the behest of the federal government of Nigerian not only went on national media to disparage fellow workers but also held a joint press conference sponsored by the federal government to seek the scuttling of a workers organized industrial action
“NLC has resisted the democratization of the trade union movement in Nigeria by conniving with different arms of government to make laws that stultify the right of workers to voluntarism.