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Protest: NLC Sidelined Us, We Feel Undermined – TUC

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Protest: ‘We’re Not Sellouts’ - TUC Replies NLC Over Betrayal Claim

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has been accused of sidelining the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the planning and efforts leading to the 27th and 28th February nationwide protest against hardship in the country.

The TUC president, Festus Osifo, made the allegation while shedding more light on Thursday regarding why the congress withdrew from the protest announced by the NLC.

According to him, the NLC failed to carry along the TUC in its plans even when the attention of the leadership was called to it, hence their own decision not to participate in the protests.

Naija News recalls the TUC had told the NLC it wouldn’t be a part of the nationwide protests but would instead engage the government.

Osifo, who spoke during an interview with Arise Television, however, clarified that the TUC is not against protest but needed to take a stand due to the repeated undermining actions of the NLC despite previous agreements between them.

“But as an institution, we don’t want people to take us for a ride. Since May 29 when these challenges came up, three things have happened,” he said.

“The first time we wanted to go for a protest in August, the NLC announced the protest without informing us.

“My national executives were furious but I said we should still join the protest and we did. A similar thing happened in September.

“They issued a two-day warning strike without informing us. Since it was the second time such a thing was happening, we did not take part in it.

“That then led to a meeting between the leadership of the TUC and NLC. In that meeting, we established communication and mutual respect.

“We agreed that moving forward, in issues of mutual concern, the leadership of both bodies must first meet, then decide what needs to be done before taking it to our organs for modification.

“The second option was that we would have a joint national executive council (NEC) meeting to take a joint decision.

“The last option was that we would sit together to develop a memorandum of understanding (MoU) so each party understands how our relationship works. We implemented the option of a NEC meeting for the Imo incident.”

Usifo recalled that both the TUC and the NLC gave a joint ultimatum to the federal government, and the normal thing before the February 8 expiration date was for both bodies to meet and decide the next line of action, but the NLC unilaterally announced a nationwide protest.

“But unfortunately, the NLC had a NEC meeting a few days to the ultimatum’s expiration and took a decision. The NLC leadership were asked by the NEC to reach out to the TUC regarding the decision but they disregarded it,” he said.

“The action that was planned was 11 days away so there was no need to have rushed out. What should have been done after that meeting was to reach out to TUC to discuss the dates and modalities.

“When we realised we were being sidelined, we wrote a letter to the NLC to say this has now happened three times.

“The way out of all this is to develop an MoU and develop processes so that one party will not feel undermined. TUC as an institution feels undermined.”



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