Bimbola Oyesola, 08033246177
Leadership of the United Labour Congress (ULC) has said there is no going back on the decision to form the new labour centre, which was launched last year.
President of the centre, Joe Ajaero, and his deputy, Igwe Achese, speaking at the national delegates’ conference of the National Union of Shops and Distributive Employees (NUSDE) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, recently, emphasised that the centre, which has affiliate members that were dissatisfied with the last Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) election, has indeed come to stay.
Ajaero, who is also the general secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), said the ULC in the past one year has been able to give good account of itself in terms of representing workers’ interest as well as fighting for their rights.
He said, “Throughout four years that I was the deputy president at NLC, we only picketed one company, Flour Mills. Now at ULC, we had prosecuted 10. We shut down Arik, today the workers there are unionised and the company is paying well. Dana, Bristow, unionised and signed agreement. We did that, not only in the aviation sector, but as well as the oil and gas and others.
“Monopoly has lots of dangers; for 10 years, when nothing was done, workers were being maligned.”
Ajaero noted that the separation from the NLC became necessary as the private sector’s affiliate unions were being discriminated against and their interests undermined.
He stated further that, “As at 2015, in NLC, there’s no person from private sector that is holding the position of the chairman in the states. Likewise historical evidence from where we were coming from in 1977 supported this fact.
“Union is about balancing. If we are saying we want unity, all of us must reach out to say we want unity.”
The immediate past president of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Igwe Achese, while charging the newly elected members of NUSDE to move forward, said ULC would support the workers in the sector in its organising struggle.
He said, “Freedom comes by struggle, nothing comes without struggle. ULC has come to stay. I am a member of the Minimum Wage Committee representing the ULC.
“ULC is the only labour movement existing today in terms of struggle. Nothing shall happen to ULC, we will forge ahead.”
Achese, deputy president of the group, said the centre has just finished organising its organ in the northern region and is now moving to the South East and the West.