Fresh Kaduna, Labour showdown looms over workers’ sack

By AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna

  • NLC leaders were paid to organise protest against my government – El-Rufai

  • Governor’s allegation laughable – NLC

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) who recently clashed when the Congress went to the state to protest against the governor’s mass sacking of workers, are set for a fresh showdown.

El-Rufai yesterday alleged that members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) were paid from Abuja to organise the recent protest against his government’s rightsizing exercise.

He said specifically that he knows those who gave the labour leaders money to organise the protest and that he will soon expose them.

The governor, who declared the protest which shutdown electricity and other sectors of the economy in the state as illegal, therefore dared the labour movement to come to Kaduna for a protest.

Reacting to the allegation on Saturday, the Deputy President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, who doubles as the General Secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees, said: “We can’t join issues with a serial liar. It is laughable. Is it that the workers were not sacked by the governor? Is it that he (El-Rufai) didn’t follow the rules? When you see a man who looks at his problems as coming from another person, the person is not worthy to be a man and the head of a family.

“When you initiate a problem; you should be able to stand it.

“We are still going to Kaduna. He should be ready for us. There is no amount of blackmail that will stop us, because after our visit, he has not implemented all that were agreed at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. And he went ahead to sack some members of ASUU.

“He can be talking as a parrot but we are going to deal with him further on these issues. We can’t listen to blackmail. Let him release his information.”

It would be recalled that NLC was in Kaduna to protest against the planned mass sack of workers by the state government under the rightsizing exercise.

But El-Rufai, who made the allegation in a radio interview in Kaduna on Thursday night, said his government cannot continue to spend over 80 per cent of its income on payment of salaries.

The Nation had reported that the labour movement commenced a five day warning strike in Kaduna State, during which supply of petroleum products, electricity and other social services were cut off from the State.

The protesting labour members were, on the second day of the protest, attacked at the popular NEPA roundabout and the protest was disrupted.

However, the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, intervened on the third day by inviting the labour and the state government to the negotiation table, a condition which made the labour leaders to suspend the strike.

Meanwhile, Governor El-Rufai in the Hausa radio chat said his government was yet to lay off any worker under the rightsizing exercise, except for political appointees, 99 of whom he has sacked.

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