Nigeria Labour Congress
The Nigeria Labor Congress has been called upon to confirm the inclusion of the new national minimum wage in the 2020 national budget.
This call was made by the Chairman of the United Labor Congress(ULC) in Abia state, Comrade Christopher Uchenna Ezekiel.
“The NLC should concentrate more on knowing if the increased minimum wage was captured in the 2020 federal government budget or not, before taking the decision to embark on national strike and then declare the proposed strike in those States that are still owing their workers arrears of salaries rather than calling for blanket national strike action against the Federal government, Comrade Ezekiel state.
He lamented that a number of state governments were owing workers salary arrears under the present N18,000 minimum wage regime saying, ''if some of these Governors cannot pay the present N18, 000, is it now that we have an increase that they would pay ?''
According to the National Coordinator of the AWC, Comrade Andrew Emelieze, ‘’ it is very embarrassing and ridiculous for labor leaders in Nigeria to beg Mr. President to intervene in the new minimum wage negotiation, President Muhammadu Buhari has severally made his stand known to Nigerian workers, that he is not ready to make workers happy, if not he ought to have influenced a reasonable new national minimum wage’’.
‘’ Labor leaders have exposed their weaknesses and stupidity by begging Mr. President, who from events is nonchalant to workers welfare. Painfully, Nigerian workers have lost out and the present crop of labor leaders are killing unionism in Nigeria, in their approach to the new national minimum wage by begging the question.’’
‘’Labor leaders have proven themselves to be a monumental disaster to the interest of Nigerian workers. And so, at the level of the AWC, we call on labor leaders to resign, if they cannot use legal industrial means to achieve the new national minimum wage’’, Comrade Emelieze stated.
The AWC made this disclosure in a chat with People through its National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze.
''The protest was meant to be an indefinite strike action and shut down of the Federal Secretariat Complex, Ibadan, which was successfully done on Monday, 29, July, 2019, at the end of the day the workers converged and it was unanimously agreed that having created the needed awareness there was the need for a review.''
'' Moreso, the protest was not meant to deny people of their rights, we therefore decided to observe reactions surrounding the protest and based on the reactions we received, we decided the next line of action. Most importantly, the message has been sent to the right quarters and workers have been freely able to express their displeasure, anger and unhappiness over the non-implementation of the new national minimum wage, the continued kidnappings, killings and other violent crimes of innocent Nigerians at home and abroad.
The Three tiers of Government and the Organized Private Sector(OPS) in Nigeria have been called upon to not to make the retrenchment of workers as a condition for the implementation of the N30, 000 new national minimum wage.
This call was made by the All Workers Convergence(AWC) through its National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze.
''Government at all levels are called upon to come out with a policy statement, more of a commitment that no employer of labour, whether in the public sector or private sector must retrench before they can pay the new minimum wage. Workers are not begging any employer of labour and if at all they go ahead with their evil machinations, labour must pose a counter reaction, which of course must be uncompromising and that is the only way we can stop them from exploiting Nigerian workers. Any attempt by government to downsize would be vehemently resisted by workers''.
''To check any sector, government or private, from not implementing the new national minimum wage, the labour movements are called upon to also issue a policy statement that the country risks a national strike, if any employer of labour refuses to pay the new national minimum wage or goes ahead to downsize'', Comrade Emelieze stated.
The signing into law of the N30,000 new national minimum wage by President Muhammadu Buhari was received with joy by all Nigerians, especially workers and their dependents. Even though workers are not too comfortable with the consensus method of picking leaders of their unions.
The leaders who emerged via consensus and the 36 state Governors would in the coming weeks,to a great extent, determine how long this joy will last.
In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke opines that Nigerian workers think of only themselves at the detriment of retirees and other Nigerians. Excerpts :
Do you think workers in the states of the federation have any cause to rejoice over the signing into law of the N30,000 new national minimum wage by President Buhari ?
Generally workers are expected to celebrate the so called N30,000 new national minimum wage in the preciseness of unsustainable economy with poor growth rate, that has no impact on the general lives of the people.
Workers are expected to be holistic, fighting for the cause of the welfare of the people and the structural effects of our democracy, that is yet to be achieved.
Injustice and inequality, marginalization and equity challenges are supposed to be in place before Nigeria and its states can have peace and development that may be sustainable and beneficial to all.
I would have expected that the workers’ unions fight the cause of the retirees and the issue of unpaid salary arrears, before vigorously embarking the satiation for the increase in the minimum wage.
This is because fighting for an holistic cause is expected to be step wise and developmental, which implies that we expect that no state government should be able to stay in power without been confronted every week with the workers’ agitation on these issues; to force them to reason that it was only through the peoples’ mandate in democracy that they had been able to get into the juicy positions of power.
Unfortunately, Nigerian workers became selfish, limiting themselves to the cause of those people in service only, at least ensuring that all states comply rationally with the old minimum wage would have made a good level playing ground to fight for the increase.
State Governors under our democratic dispensation have only succeeded in impoverishing the people, most especially their children-graduates-majority of whom are made to roam the streets aimlessly thereby becoming nuisances.
While government officials and the executive live in affluence, the people under them continue to groan under the harshness of abject poverty affecting their fundamental human rights to have access to the very good things of life; that can make them realize the benefit of governance dynamics.
Now, we are having a change of government come My 29, 2019, derisively, the outgoing Governors may show deceptive friendship, by accepting to pay the N30,00 new national minimum wage, to set a trap for the incoming government, so as to make the new government highly unpopular among the people who gave them the mandate.
Those who will continue in power, maybe ready to damn the consequence, by not agreeing to pay the new wage.
It is a known fact that only between two to three states have the capacity to pay the new national minimum wage, even in the face of unabated corruption.
The government may end up contending with industrial disputes.
This is not to say that Nigeria is not potentially capable to implement the assented payment of the new national minimum wage of N30,000, but the government failed to back it up with good economic policy and formula.
The cheapest way to do this, does not lie in increasing the Value Added Tax(VAT), because this would negatively affect the prices of commodities for home consumption as well as inviting increase in inflation, with direct consequence on the impoverished masses, who constitute more than 70 per cent of the population.
For equity sake, in which the welfare of the masses would be taken care of, there is the need for the downward review of the salaries of the political class, the executive and the Legislature in particular, say by half, so that the upward review of the minimum wage, which is more of a daily token and stipend in the hands of the elite, who constitute less than 10 per cent of the population of Nigeria, would succeed.
If this had been done, the heavy top would have rolled down to augment the meager amount meant for mass distribution.
Stomach infrastructure is basically primary and should not be toyed with politically, otherwise the provision of basic amenities, if absent, would rubbish the efforts of government in the areas of transportation, mining, power and other sectors that would aid development.
Stomach infrastructure has direct link with the ability of government to provide employment and empower all Nigerians, most especially the youth, so that they would be less restive.
Remember, more than 95 per cent of the small scale industries facilitated industrialization in all the developed countries-the United States of America, United Kingdom, Russia, China and South Korea.
This very good model is sought after by Malaysia and Singapore, which gained independence in 1965.
Let this government in the next political dispensation follow suit, by developing the nation and be virile enough to become a strong institution, rather than building strong individuals, who have become untouchable in the face of corruption, destroying equitable legacy for our youth as it is today. God save Nigeria.
The All Workers Convergence(ACW) has declared that workers would no longer respect the Federal Government even if it eventually approves the new national minimum wage.
The AWC made this disclosure through its National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze in a chat with Federationews2day.
''Even if the Federal Government eventually approves a new national minimum wage today, government has lost the respect of Nigerian workers. It is a big shame that up till this moment government has not been able to pay the Nigerian workers what is due to them, rather our so called government has been systematically, delaying the process''.
''From one episode of drama to another episode, all has been equal to zero and the Nigerian workers are the ones paying the price. Quite unfortunate, government cannot redeem its image, workers' impression of government, is that of a callous monster, who cares less about fairness and justice, but rather a government that believes that workers must suffer before they get what rightly belongs to them''.
''In conclusion, our government is shooting itself in the leg, with the unfolding drama of the new national minimum wage. Government has been able to make the Nigerian workers know who their real enemy is and this has made workers to increase their level of consciousness'', Comrade Emelieze asserted.
The All workers Convergence(AWC) has warned of the imminent withdrawal of the solidarity of Nigerian workers for their labour leaders if a new national minimum wage is not achieved by end of December 2018.This warning was given by the AWC, through its National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze in a chat with People.''Our labour leaders must redeem their image by ensuring that before the end of December, 2018, everything about a reasonable living wage is achieved, else the leaders would seize to enjoy the solidarity of the Nigerian workers. The Nigerian labour movement has missed the target, in the past three and half years, they have been unable to achieve a new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers, despite been part of the Tripartite committee.''''The involvement of labour in that committee was a colossal waste of time as nothing tangible has come out of it. What is painful now, is that the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) the Trade Union Congress(TUC) and the United Labour Congress(ULC) have deliberately refused to hit the nail on the head, instead they are romanticizing the situation, begging the question at all times, thereby leaving workers to stray like sheep without shepherd''.''The feeling everywhere is that labour not achieving the new national minimum wage in the past three and half years, is tantamount to failure and since labour has failed the Nigerian workers, the Nigerian workers, of course demand an apology, over the non actualization of a new national minimum wage in the past three and half years''.''Besides, engaging government on the issue of new national minimum wage, labour leaders must also engage themselves and do self-examination, to determine if they are really and truly pursuing the interest of the Nigerian workers. Take a look at the modus operandi of the labour movement, you see a movement that has been pampering government. The conclusion is that the labour movement in Nigeria is not just weak and conservative, but also reactionary. And as a result, there is the urgent need for labour to overhaul and shed its present toga, this would go a long way in redeeming the image of labour'', Comrade Eemlieze asserted.
- By solomon2day
- On 13/11/2018
Leaders of the organized labour in Nigeria have been faulted for suspending the indefinite industrial action prior to the Federal Government's announcement of a definite figure for the new national minimum wage.
This position was made known by the National Coordinator of the All Workers Convergence(AWC), Comrade Andrew Emelieze.
''In the future it would be better for labour, despite the agreement, to allow Government to pay the new minimum wage before the indefinite strike action would be called off, this when done, would guarantee workers confidence in labour. We are a bit surprised that the strike was suspended, even when government had not pronounced to the public what it was ready to pay workers''
''However, labour has not done badly, at least they have been able to compel government, which has been unrepentantly unwilling to review workers' salaries, to concede, in the fianl analysis, for a wage increase, though the last presentation of labour of N30,000 is still slavish in nature and will still give room for future agitation as time goes on because N30,000 cannot be a living wage'', Comrade Emelieze noted.
The All Workers Convergence(AWC) has declared that the Federal Government was not ready to pay the N30,000 new national minimum wage.
This declaration was made by the National Coordinator of the AWC, Comrade Andrew Emelieze in a chat with People.
''It is becoming crystal clear that the Federal Government is not ready to pay Nigerian workers a living wage. They might as well continue to deceive us as they have done through the setting up of a tripartite committee, unless our labour centres maintain a dogged position and insist that nothing would be reduced from the N30,000, labour has proposed as the new minimum wage, through strikes and struggles, only then can we compel the government to pay the new minimum wage, which of course, will not take the workers home.''
''It is quite unfortunate that despite the compromise position of our labour centres, to agree for N30,000 as the new minimum wage, our government is reluctant to agree with the meagre amount. The AWC calls for public support and understanding of the masses towards the November 6, indefinite nationwide strike action by our labour centres, towards achieving the N30,000 living wage'', Comrade Emelieze concluded.
The All Workers Convergence(AWC) has called on workers in Nigeria to reject the outcome of the tripartite committee on the new minimum wage and the decision of the Federal Government if it does not meet their expectations.
The AWC made this call through its National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze, in a chat with Federationews2day.
''It is important that whatsoever is reached by the tripartite committee and the Federal Government, if it does not meet the expectations of Nigerians workers should be vehemently resisted and rejected by the Nigerian workers''.
''In fact it is a big a shame and a slap on government that workers will have to go on strike for a pay rise. We call on government to stop persecuting Nigerian workers and approve the N66,500 new minimum wage forthwith'', Comrade Emelieze concluded.
Nigerian workers are demanding for a new national minimum wage of N66,500, but the Federal Government is tinkering with the idea of approving between N25,000 and N30,000.
Health workers in the University College Hospital(UCH)Ibadan, Nigeria have expressed reservations over the insistence of the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole that their salaries for April and May would not be paid until the leaders of their unions apologize for embarking on the suspended strike action.
The UCH health workers made this known through the Chairman of the National Union of Allied Health Professionals of Nigeria(NUAHP)UCH branch, Comrade Oladayo Olabampe.
''The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has said that the two months salaries owed workers in the UCH would onlybe paid, when our union leaders apologize for the strike action that has been suspended. But we are not ready to apologize. The strike action was legal''.
''However, salaries for 17 days in April has been paid, remaining 13 days , while May salaries are yet to be paid. The five unions in the health sector are working tirelessly to ensure that salaries are paid'', Comrade Olabampe disclosed
Nigerian workers have been called upon to vote out corrupt and anti-people political office holders in the 2019 general elections.
This call was made by the Chairman of the Oyo state chapter of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria(ASCSN), Comrade Babatunde Balogun, at a News Conference in Ibadan, Nigeria.
''We will use the 2019 general elections to turn this dismal record around, by voting out the corrupt and anti-masses government in Nigeria at all levels to have a government of our own. Our stand on this is that the nation's expensive Democracy, natural, human and hard earned resources is only serving the interest of the ruling elite who are less than five percent of Nigeria's population, this has placed the plight of the working class and the masses in general on deaf ears.''
Comrade Balogun lamented that those who could afford to spend money were now in control of governance in the country, saying'' the commercialization of nomination forms at the huge amount to aspirants, aspiring to serve the people by political parties is also an indication that our Democracy or ruler ship in Nigeria is for the highest bidder who in return will be coming into office to recover his investment through profit maximization.''
''This ugly situation with the nation's political system means that the political space would be monopolized by only the big boys in the business of looting, who rather than come into office to meet the constitutional social contract of providing basic amenities, pay its workforce handsomely and protect life and property of the electorate, will use the office to accumulate wealth, deny the people of their rights and further plunge the nation into a deeper state of hopelessness.''
The All Workers Convergence(AWC) has raised that alarm that the Federal Government has with held salaries of workers nationwide for the month of June, to frustrate the one day sit-at-home action of the workers on Monday July 2.
According to the National Coordinator of the AWC, Comrade Andrew Emelieze, who made this disclosure, in a chat with People, the workers will go ahead with the action.
''In fact Government is trying to frustrate the one day sit-at-home national strike. Government has refused to pay workers their June salaries, just to frustrate the one day national sit-at-home action. To this end, we call on workers natiowide to sit at home on Monday July 2, 2018, in protest gaainst the denila of the rights of existence of the Nigerian workers by Government''.
''Any worker that is not comfortable with the N18,000 minimum wage should sit at home on that day. We are appealing to the conscience of all Nigerian workers to make it succeed. An it shall succeed'', Comrade Emelieze asserted.
Howevr, the Chairman of the Oyo state council of the Trade Union Congress(TUC), who is also the Chairman Joint Negotiating Council(JNC) in the state, Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran disclosed that there was no directive from the Labour centres in Abuja to that effect.
''There is nothing like that, I have no directive, no letter to that effect, in respect of the sit-at-home action, as leaders of organized Trade unions in the state, we will not do anything that would jeopardize or prejudice the negotiation, whatever we cannot defend we will not go into it. Any worker that abides by the directive and is absent without leave, the consequence is summary dismissal, and they cannot call us to defend them because we did not call them out'', Comrade Ogundiran warned.
In a related development workers in the a siazble number of Local Governments of Oyo state have insisted that the state Government was yet to pay them for a number of months, just as they stressed that the N9 billion the state Government claimed to have released, only covered payment of salaries for two months.
In his reaction, the state President of the National Union of Local Government Employess (NULGE), Comrade Tititlola Sodo said that the over N9.7 billion released by the state Government was used to pay two months salaries of Primary School Teachers.
''The N9.7 billion the state Government released was a allocation for March and April, 2018, including 10 per cent Internally Generated Revenue(IGR), no gratuity was paid About N3.6 billion was used to pay the two months salaries of Primary School Teachers and another N1.3 billion was used to pay leave bonus. Salaries for workers at the newly created Local Council Development Areas(LCDAs) are still paid at the mother Local Governments. 2o Local Goverments are up to date in the payment of salaries, quite a few still have salary arrears outstanding, ranging from one to six months''.
Comrade Sodo urged the workers to still have confidence in their union leaders, saying ''we have come this far, workers should not lose hope, they should rely on their unions ''.
In the present time, in Nigeria only a handful of civil and public servants take their duties seriously and wholeheartedly.
Their attitude is directly related to the position of government in the three tiers on issues of workers' welfare and conditions of service.
Indeed, the focus of those on government payroll in any given line of duty or assignment is what is in it to gain and not what is ought to be done. In other words, selfless devotion to duty is no longer there.
Assigned tasks in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies are no longer done properly and promptly. A sizable number of workers, no longer possess senses of responsibility. Who is to blame ?
For several years now, the monster of indiscipline has continued to fester. with due process as the major casuality. The struggle for ''power'' among government workers is the most prominent activity going on in most offices.
Sharp practices are the order of the day, this is partly as a result of the sectional Democracy in vogue today.
At the Federal , State and Local government levels, workers, who are co-opted to generate revenue for government, make good use of the opportunity to protect their future .
The source of inspiration for these category, of workers include stories of government workers who retired in 2010 and are yet to be paid their gratuities.
The popular discussion in most government offices is the backlog of salary arrears owed workers, even though Comrades Ibrahim Yinsua Olayiwola and Adejare Ahmed of the Oyo state branch of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria(ASCSN) are of the opinion that workers should be devoted and committed to duty, to avoid negative reports from their superiors.
The worrisome question everywhere at present is : has the insensitive attitude of government ensured workers devotion and commitment to duty ?
The recently suspended nationwide strike action embarked upon by health workers in Nigeria has exposed how the Federal Government has destroyed the essence of trade unionism in the country.
Some days before the strike was called off, the management of the University College Hospital(UCH) Ibadan, had issued a circular directing all workers in the hospital to resume within 48 hours or risk dismissal. This, it was gathered, was with the knowledge of some union leaders in the hospital.
Indeed, workers in Nigeria have for long called to question the sincerity of their union leaders, in representing their interests, transparently.
Not long ago, Non Academic Staff in Nigerian universities suspended their industrial action.
According to the Chairman of the University of Ibadan, branch of the Non Academic Staff of Union, Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo, although the government threatened to invoke the ''No work No Pay rule'', the workers were paid for the duration they were on strike.
''Government was threatening not to pay us, but after the whole threats, the matter was resolved amicably. And government decided to pay our members for all the period that they downed tools. Even though our major demands have not been met, we hope that the government will change its style of leadership and do the needful'', Comrade Arojo disclosed.
Interestingly, a circular issued by the Head of Hospital Administration, Dr. J.O Amedu, for the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, announced that all salaries would not be paid to those who embarked on strike. The circular referred to the provision of section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act CAP 18, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and International Labour Organization's principles concerning employers' rights during strike in essential services, to justify its action.
However, the National Coordinator of the All Workers Convergence(AWC)Comrade Andrew Emelieze opines that workers have the right to go on strike.
''To the issue of the pronouncement that workers' salaries, who went on strike would not be paid for the period that the strike lasted, this is an aberration, more of an abnormality, especially when the labour act allows for legitimate strikes been a tool for negotiation. Workers have the right to get paid. Even in line with the International Labour Organization's position, strikes are legitimate, it is a legal tool to make demands and encourage productivity''.
''Hence, as such workers pay within that period is guaranteed. More so, government was the cause of the strike and should be held accountable for all the shortcomings concerning the lock out, whereby government refused to meet the demands of the workers, thereby making it impossible for them to be at work. On this note, government must pay their salaries or else government should be ready for another dispute'', Comrade Emelieze concluded.
Interestingly, workers of the UCH, Ibadan are yet to be paid for April and May, according to the Chairman Joint Health Sector Union(JOHESU) of the hospital, Comrade Olusegun Sotiloye.
''The circular issued by the UCH management was not enough to scare us, right now we are yet to receive the April and May salaries, while we wait patiently for the intervention of the Senate President, as he promised. Workers should remain calm, while we wait for the dividends of the strike'',.Comrade Sotiloye stated.
Sadly, health workers in Oyo state insist that thy are at a lose, over why the strike was suspended.
''We have a number of demands that are yet to be met by the Oyo state Government, and yet we are back to work'', they lamented.
They also argue that their union leaders have been compromised by the state government, that was why there has not been an headway in the agitation for their demands to be met.
''The routine is becoming monotonous, our leaders will call us out on strike and after sometime, such strikes are suspended, without meeting our demands. If Nigerians are saying our leaders have been compromised, they are correct'', the workers speaking incognito revealed.
However, an attempt to get the response of the JOHESU Chairperson, Comrade R.A. Afonja met a brick wall at the unions secretariat at Yemetu, in Ibadan, as the Chairperson's response was '' is it by force to speak, please excuse us''.
The coming days and weeks, would only serve to outline how the some officials of the present administration and union leaders in the country have systematically destroyed trade unionism and hope for an improved and efficient workforce.
The All Workers Coverngence(AWC) has declared that the Federal Government does not have any intention to increase workers' salaries.
The AWC made this declaration through its National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze, in a chat with People.
''It is a delibrate attempt to dash the hopes of the Nigerian workers, who have been underpaid in the past years. And so it is as if, it is also a delibrate attempt to deceive the Nigerian workers, having continually promised since last year, ever since the committee was set up and the promise that the new minimmage will see the light of the day in Septmber, for government to now say it is no longer possible, confirms the fact that government is deceiving the workers and it is the most irresponsible thing to do''.
''In the light of this, the AWC, is calling for immediate radical action from the Trade Union Congress(TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), the two unions should as a matter of urgency, confront this pronouncement with a nationwide strike action, as this remains the only therapy that can help workers in the struggle for a new antional minimum wage '', Comrade Emelieze stated.
The Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Nigige, has a few days ago, disclosed that by September, the committee on new antional minimum wage would be submitting its report, and as a result the implementation would be moved forward.
Training and Retraining of Workers : Oyo Govt Has not Done Enough for us-Chairman JNC
Similarly, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress(TUC), who also doubles as the Chairman Joint Negotiation Council(JNC) in the state, Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran, has disclosed that the state government has not done enough in the area of training and retraining of the state's workforce in the last seven years.
''Training and retraining that could have improved our productivity has been embargoed. This is not good for the workers. However, the state government is trying its best in the payment of salaries, we are only been owed for May, as at now, the government has the will to pay. But in the area of facelift to our work environment, government started well, the Governor's office is a sight to behold, but same cannot be said of our offices'', Comrade Ogundiran noted.
Discrimination was the order of the day during the colonial era. In November, 1947, Imoudu led others to demonstrate against racial discrimination at the Bristol Hotel, Lagos.
In the cause of the demonstration, he was physically assaulted and arrested by the Police.
However, of worry, is the self-preservation approach of present day labour leaders.
At different times, he mobilized the conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to protest against colonial rule and also workers and peasants for the independence movement led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, during the nationwide tour of the National Council of Nigeria Citizens (NCNC), to raise funds and support for the Nigerian delegation to the constitutional conference in London.
The Labour wing of the NC-Democratic Grand Alliance, of which Imoudu was a member, won four seats in the Lagos Town Council elections in 1950.
In 1964, Imoudu led the general strike against the restriction of Democracy, which was targeted at compelling the Government to implement the report of the Morgan commission. In addition, he was a member of the Marxist Socialist Workers and Farmers Party.
In the Second Republic, he was Vice President of the Peoples Redemption Party(PRP) led by Mallam Aminu Kano.
His track record formed the basis for his becoming the founding President of the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) in 1964. The NLC of today possess a different design and ideology.
Sadly, pragmatic approach to labour issues and concepts remain lacking, even as Labour leaders' sacrifices and tribulations for Nigerian workers are cosmetic, debatable and trailed by controversy.
Those in the labour struggle, with Imoudu's frame of mind and character are relatively few and extremely difficult to identify, in these days of ''he who pays the piper, dictates the tune''.
Nigerians have been advised to accept the statement of the Comptroller General of Customs as a wake up call to reject bad governance.
This advise was given in a chat with Federationews2day, by the National Coordinator of the All Workers Convergence(AWC), Comrade Andrew Emelieze.
''It is actually a wake up call to Nigerians in all fields of endeavour, that we can say that we are actually lazy because we have been tolerating bad governance, agelong misrule, corruption, incompetence, terrorism and so Nigerians must rise up to prove that we are not lazy, by resisting to tolerate bad governance again,'' Comrade Emelieze stated.
In his views the Public Relations Officer(PRO) OF Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners(AWDROP), Mr. Richrad Adeyinka insists that Nigerians are not lazy.
''Nigerians are not lazy, go to the streets, thousands of those who graduate each year, don't have jobs, I know that Nigerians are not lazy, if they are they will not take to commercial motorcycling(Okada) to keep body and soul together'', Mr. Adeyinka disclosed.
For Messrs Edmund Ogboh and Ifeanyichukwu, both Ibadan based businessmen, the Federal Government should create more jobs for millions of Nigerians who are without jobs. ''If government creates more jobs there would be a reduction in crime and a change of mind by those considered to be lazy'', they emphasized.
The need for an increase in wages and better working conditions prompted Michael Imoudu to lead a demonstration from the locomotive yard in Ebute metta, Lagos to the Government House situated at Marina, Lagos Island, Lagos.
The Governor General of the Colony of Lagos, Bernard Bourdillon noticed that any form of industrial action at that period, could disrupt railway supplies to the coalition, during the Second World War in 1941. It was on this premise he acceded to a 50 per cent pay rise for the workers.
This success, further inspired Imoudu to put forward more demands, among which were conversion of daily casual labour to salaried employment, Saturday work with pay, permanence of daily labour, holiday travel grant and payment of arrears to cover 1932 to 1942 of unpaid entitlements.
This did not go down well with Bourdillon, who facilitated the termination of Imoudu’s appointment on 23 January, 1943 and also ordered his arrest under the Nigeria General Defense Regulations, 1941.
In quick succession he was relocated and remanded at the Benin prison, while in prison, he influenced inmates to demonstrate against poor feeding and other deplorable prison conditions.
In response, the British Colonial Government in 1943, restricted Imoudu’s movement to the palace of the paramount Chief of Auchi and made an order for him to report twice a week to the Auchi Police station.
As a result of a face off with the District Officer of Auchi and his moves to facilitate the establishment of peasants’ cooperatives for the benefit of peasants in Etsako and Ora, he was again remanded in the Auchi prison.
Some of his comrades, including T.A Bankole openly spoke against Imoudu’s action, to the hearing of the Chief Secretary of Government.
After spending two and a half years in prison, the labour activist was set free.
A mass rally was held at Oko-Awo, Lagos to celebrate his release from prison, while nationalists such as Herbert Macaulay were on ground to grace the occasion.
In June 1945, he successfully led over 30,000 workers to down tools for 44 days.
The industrial action was hinged on the inability of the colonial Government to actualize the promise of Bourdillon in 1942, to review allowances according to living index.
Bourdillon’ successor, Arthur Frederick Richards vigorously refused to pay the allowance.
This resulted in the abrupt end of the unpopular Richards constitution, and set the stage for self government.
Govt. Has Failed in Its Responsibilities-AWC
Health workers in Nigeria have clarified that the ongoing indefinite industrial action was embarked upon to compel the Federal Government to meet their demands, just as they insisted that they have no dispute with any Non Governmental Organization.
This clarification was made in a chat with Federationews2day by the spokesperson of the Oyo state council of the Joint Health Sector Union(JOHESU), Comrade Olabode Akinfenwa.
''We are not in dispute with any Non Governmental Organization(NGO), we are in dispute with the Federal Government. Also, we are not aware of the National Industrial Court Judgement. We have local issues that are yet to be addressed by the Oyo state Government. There is preferential treatment in the health sector'', Comrade Akinfenwa noted.
In the same vein, the All Workers Convergence(AWC) has attributed the indefinite strike action embarked upon by health workers in the country to the fact that government at all levels have abandoned their responsibilities. It only shows how irresponsible government is. Is it a Non Governmental Organization(NGO) that will intervene in such a sensitive issue that has to do with the health of Nigerians. Even the NGO cannot be trusted. It might likely have an ulterior motive. Government in Nigeria has lost its sense of Justice and equal rights''.
This position was made known by AWC's National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze.
''Painfully, it is the traveling out of President Muhammadu Buhari, for medical consultation to London, when the health sector has been grounded by a nation wide strike, that is making its suspension difficult, even though the President traveled out to save his life. For us, in AWC, this act is not only irresponsible, but callous'', Comrade Emelieze noted.