By Bimbola Oyesola
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has charged the Federal Government to resolve the lingering crisis in the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), as it was beginning to impact negatively on the nation’s industrial relations infrastructure.
This was as the Joe Ajaero-led group, yesterday, threatened to picket all the banks involved in the recent mass sack in the financial sector after the sallah holiday.
The Director General of NECA, Mr. Segun Oshinowo, had at a media briefing warned that there was no economy in the world that could be productive without peace and industrial harmony.
Speaking against the background of the contentious reactions on the present mass sack in the banking sector, Oshinowo implored the National Industrial Court (NIC) to take decision on the ongoing crisis in NLC.
The NECA DG, who said the conference was to clear the air on industrial relations’ matter in the banking sector and the confusion in the labour movement, stressing the crisis had been allowed to linger for too long and that if not nipped in the bud now would affect the nation’s GDP should the unions continue to disrupt the companies’ activities at will.
NECA and some bank managements had last week met with the bank union under the Ayuba Wabba-led NLC over plans to picket the banks.
At the meeting, the three parties reached an agreement to call off the picketing of banks that sacked over 1,000 workers as well as give the union a mandate to organise its members in the affected banks within one month.
Subsequently, the Ajaero-led faction issued a statement warning that the picketing would commence next week as NECA had not met with it.
But Oshinowo has vowed that NECA will not meet with another faction of the NLC, bearing in mind that the association and the Federal Government do not believe that there are two NLCs.
The Director General, who said the bank union was fully represented at the meeting held in Abuja last week, said it was time the NLC made a pronouncement that would be binding on the affected parties to move the trade union movement forward.
He said the crisis, which has created two factions in the labour movement has its implication and was affecting the entire society.
He said, “it is time the law takes its course and we have to stand by the law that is legitimate. Anybody that contravenes the trade union law is subject to prosecution.
“We will not continue to allow the NLC crisis that has produced two factions to be prolonged because it is having a negative effect on employers and industrial relations.”
He said NECA would not give room to any union that does not have any legal backing because it was an arrangement that would affect industrial harmony and the entire economy would suffer.
Oshinowo, however, said that if the plans to picket the banks should continue, a letter would be written to the Minister of Labour and Employment as well as security agency through the Inspector General of Police, who would be expected to interpret the law.
Ajaero, in a statement reacting to NECA’s position, has said, “our picketing of the banks after the Ramadan holidays will start with NECA office.
“We want to reiterate that the NLC will compel NECA and others to obey our laws and act responsibly within the ambits of international standards and norms governing our engagement as social partners.”