By Olanrewaju Adesanya
The United Labour Congress of Nigeria has charged the Honourable Minister for Labour and Employer,Senator Chris Ngige to see his return as a second chance to holistically review draconian labour laws and address the yearnings of Nigerian workers.
The ULC National Adminstrative Council (NAC) led by the ULC President,Comrade Joe Ajaero in a congratulatory letter made available to newsmen,maintained that it unequivocally refused to collaborate with those who were making efforts to stall Ngige’s reemergence, as they could see his genuine intent to liberate an average Nigerian worker from all forms servitude.
“Your reappointment into the Ministry shows that the Presidency reposes in you utmost faith trust and confidence. It is a clear indication that they were satisfied with your work in the last four years and would wish that you continue.
“This is despite the pressures from certain quarters against your return to the Ministry – a call which majority of the stakeholders within the labour movement in Nigeria did not support.
“Despite our differences on matters of principles sometimes on the speed with which problems confronting Nigerian workers and trade unions have been handled during your previous spell in the Ministry.
“We have come to find in you a public officer that would not allow himself to be intimidated by forces of retrogression whose desire would have been to keep Nigerian workers under permanent servitude.
“We still remember your insistence and determination in pursuing the review of all the Labour and Trade Union Laws in Nigeria so as to plug all the loopholes that allows malicious and wicked employers to abuse and violate the rights and privileges of Nigerian workers.
“It was your stated avowal that Nigerian workers must be protected and Nigerian jobs kept for Nigerians that endeared us to your headship of that Ministry.
“Though you believed that all actors within the nation’s Industrial Relations sphere must show fairness in their dealings with other social partners, you informed us that the weak must be protected but that overall we must all have eyes on making sure that the nation’s economy made progress.
“Your battles with Employers in the Finance and Banking sector are still very vivid in our memory. You spoke out against the mass retrenchment that characterised the industry and demanded that the Law should not be thrown to the refuse bin because of our economic circumstances.
“While others questioned your position, we stood and supported that vision of yours since we were then at the epicentre of those wicked actions. Later events hugely vindicated you for standing by Nigerian workers and masses.
“We commend the President for returning you to that Ministry and hope that you do not rest on your oars considering your past achievements.
“We want you to see in it an opportunity to correct the mistakes of yesterday and to create policies jointly with all stakeholders that would ensure that the nation’s Industrial relations sphere remains robust and vibrant. ”
The ULC however implore the Minister to breast tape a more inclusive trade union movement for the nation to engender a liberal,just and fair Industrial Relations clime in Nigeria.
” It is only by doing this that we conform to our traditions as social partners and a democratic nation. Any form of dictatorship or bandage anywhere enslaves all so, the undemocratic practices within this sector must be purged through your concerted effort.
“We therefore urge you to dig deep into your resolve to liberate Nigerian workers who have suffered unduly under the yoke of deprivations in our workplaces.
“We look up to your leadership. Nigerian workers who we represent are hopeful that you will do better this time. Nigerian masses believe that your return is a good sign that things may get better. When you fulfil these hopes, they will not be betrayed.
“Do remain assured of our continued commitment to the progress of Industrial Relations in Nigeria and the success of your tenure as long as you remain committed to the welfare of Nigerian workers and peoples.
“We extend our hands of fellowship to your leadership in all its Policies and programs designed for the mutual benefit of all the social partners in the Country.” ULC reiterated.