By Bimbola Oyesola
The ten affiliates of the Trade Union of Congress (TUC) presently in court over leadership tussle have called for the nullification of the election held by the Labour Centre last month alleging that the Delegates’ Conference contradicted all forms, rules and laws guiding the Congress conferences.
Addressing the press in Lagos yesterday, the chairman of the group known as Concerned affiliates, Emmanuel Jaja, said it was necessary to draw the attention of the public especially the Federal and State Governments, and all employers of labour in Nigeria that the purported National Delegates Conference of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday July 19, 2022 was a nullity.
The group which dismissed reports alleging that it has been factionalised, insisted that it remained united with the national body.
Jaja said what the group wants from the national body was to ensure mistakes made before the national delegates conference, held in Abuja, recently, are corrected. He said since the leadership of the TUC did not call for a dialogue with the concerned affiliates before the national delegates conference, hence the reasons it went to court.
Noting that the group was open for dialogue, he said the National Industrial Court (NIC) had barred the body from conducting the delegates’ conference of the Congress pending the determination of substantive issues.
According to him, “Regrettably, the national secretariat of the congress on February 28, 2022, issued a notice on the congress WhatsApp platforms informing the affiliates of the coming national delegates conference, which was scheduled to hold on July 19 and 20, 2022. The course of our court action was the inclusion of the position of the presidency among the contestable positions on noticing what we considered initially as a mistake turned out to be a deliberate and willful intention to distort the Congress unanimous agreement reached at the 2019 delegates conference.
“These 10 affiliates jointly wrote to the leadership of the Congress drawing their attention to the mistake and requested for its correction, but until the time of this press briefing there has been no response.
“ASSIBIFI for its part reminded the president of the Congress of the observed mistake but no response nor excuse was received till date.
The only option left for this group was to seek the court interpretation of the delegates conference resolutions and as a responsible organisation, the leadership of TUC should have waited to hear from the court rather than taken laws into their hands, thereby defying the court orders.”
The election had produced Festus Osifo, current President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (PENGASSAN) as the new TUC President.
The group affiliates Chairman stressed that “It is most regrettable and disheartening that a Labour Centre like ours (TUC) could deliberately desecrate the temple of justice by flagrantly disobeying its orders.
He recalled that the National Industrial Court on Wednesday 6th July 2022 retrained TUC and its agents in the presence of TUC Lawyers and the PENGASSAN from conducting the delegates conference of the congress pending the determination of the substantive issues in respect of the attempts by the same PENGASSAN who believed that their personal choice not to attend the 2019 delegates conference of the Centre in 2019 should render the unanimously agreed resolutions of the conference a reality.