Celebration Of May Day By Parallel Labour Factions In Benin | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Celebration Of May Day By Parallel Labour Factions In Benin

Posted: May 8, 2015 at 5:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Francis Onoiribholo, Benin


The leadership crisis rocking the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) was further pronounced in Edo State last week as the two factions organised parallel May Day celebrations in Benin. The  Ayuba Wabba faction led by Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun as state Chairman, held their match past at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, while the Joe Ajaero faction led by Eddy Ossai as the state Chairman held theirs at the NTA Pavilion.

NLC’s President, comrade Ayuba Wabba

NLC’s President, comrade Ayuba Wabba

It will be recalled that the national leadership of NLC had February 11, 2015 held a botched conference that resulted in the emergence of factional executives on March 12. Both factions, however, observed low turned out of workers with about 12 unions taking part in the match past in Ajaero-led faction. In his address to the workers, Eddy Ossai said he was not worry about the size of the affiliate bodies, adding that his faction has an open door for negotiation and reconciliation and assured that the future would tell. According to him, “The Union is determine to take side in improving the condition of workers as well as to ensure that bold step is taken to minimised the hazards faced by the workers.”

Also in his welcome address, the Chairman, NLC, Edo State Council, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun, had expressed appreciation to the state Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, for the numerous welfare packages for workers in Edo State. According to Ademokun, ‘Comrades, you will recall that during our celebration last year, a catalogue of pending issues of workers with the state government was presented to our Comrade Governor.
“I am pleased to inform you that the following issues have been met, all outstanding promotions of workers have been released up to 2012, workers salary are given prompt attention in spite of dwindling resources from the Federation Account.

“The Comrade Governor graciously gave organised labour two seats for permanent secretaries in the service and our nominees have been appointed permanent secretaries.

Ademokun, however, called on the state government to as a matter of urgency regularise the employment of casuals in the service of Edo State. A university teacher, Mr Godwin Oaikhena, however berated employers of
labour in the country for treating workers with levity and disdain by denying them job security. Oaikhena, a lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Benin, vented his anger in a lecture entitled, ‘Challenges And Restoration Of Labour Dignity In Emerging Work Environment,’ which he delivered at this year’s May Day celebration on the invitation of the Eddy Ossai led faction of the Edo State chapter of the NLC.

The don cited workers’ job insecurity, injustice and harassment, lack of independence of thought, inhuman condition of work and slave wages as some of the important challenges and problems of labour in Nigeria.

According to him, the employers whether government or private treat the worker as if he/she is a tool of work which can be changed at any
time no matter the length of period the worker has put into the service under the slightest excuse of misbehaviors, disobedience and lack of capacity to work with little or no financial compensation.

The worker’s useful age is tapped by the employer and when he/she is getting old is dumped as a refugee with meager pension that cannot
sustain the worker, he said, adding that labour unionism in Nigeria has been hijacked by persons who are not labour oriented, but sponsored by political class.

Oaikhena recommended that the new generation of labour leaders should emulate the eras of Micheal Imoudu, Hassan Sunmonu, Alhaji Ali Ciroma and Adams Oshiomhole.

He said by so doing, they can have a formidable force to confront the employers of labour in Nigeria and ensure favorable conditions of
service and restore the dignity of Nigerian labour.

On his part, Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Edo State Council, Comrade Charles Oronsaye, in his address at the May Day celebration, appealed to the Comrade Governor to increase the allocation of funds for payment of pension and gratuity to retirees to reduce the backlog of unpaid pensions and gratuity.

Oronsaye said, “TUC Edo State Council acknowledges the ongoing promotion of workers in Edo State public service.

“However, we crave the indulgence of the Comrade Governor to give approval for the year 2013 and 2014 promotion exercise in Edo State and pleaded that sacked members in SUBEB be reinstated.” Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, commended the leadership role, perseverance, solidarity and sacrifices of the NLC and TUC which has enabled hope among the people of the state.

Oshiomhole, who was represented by the Deputy-Governor, Dr. Pius Egberanmen Odubu, said, “The struggles of workers around the world have indeed come a long way since the 1st day of May 1904”.

He said one cannot forget the dedication of the leadership of the NLC and TUC, “the perseverance, solidarity and sacrifices of so many others
which has enabled the hope we have today as people in Edo State”.

He also noted that workers in Edo State have long yearned for change and with the change that took place at the national level in the 2015 general elections that brought Gen. Muhammadu Buhari on board, it is believed that oil theft and corruption in the system will be drastically

“This will bring improvement in the economic fortunes of the state and local government councils which will in turn translate to better life of Edo workers and the people in general.

“This administration has been very responsive to its workers in the face of dwindling resources from the Federation Account through the prompt payment of salaries,” Oshiomhole said.

He highlighted some of the promises made and kept to include, the realisation of the N18,000 minimum wage, additional 10 per cent increment in the salary relativity of health workers and other core civil servants, recall of over 900 sacked teachers who had issues with their Primary School Leaving Certificates and age.

He said “workers who were erroneously retired from service due to extension of service related issues have been recalled as well as the extension of service retirement age to be 60 years as the new bar for retirement from service in the state among others. While regretting the continual reduction of resources from the Federation Account, Oshiomhole assured that his administration would sustain its developmental strides in the areas of school construction, roads and the building of the ultra modern central hospital in Benin City.

He congratulated the NLC for the successful elections into various offices at both the national and state levels and called on the new leadership to remain focused and committed to the development of Nigeria and Edo State Council in particular.

Solidarity messages were delivered by NLC Advisory Chairman, Rev. Olu Adenigbigbe, President, Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations (CONGOS), Comrade Jude Obasi, and the representative of Controller of Labour, Federal Ministry of Labour, Edo State.