By Mohammed Tijjani
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Saturday described the mass sack and casualization of workers by Kaduna State Government as the most brutal attack on workers and trade unions’ rights in Nigeria’s history.
The state NLC Chairman, Mr Ayuba Suleiman, who delivered the Workers Day address of the union’s President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, in Kaduna, said the government had either sacked or casualised more than 60 per cent of the state workforce.
“We consider the recent mass sack and casualization of more than 60 per cent of the workforce in Kaduna State as the most brutal attack on workers and trade union rights in our nation’s history.
“Between 2016 and 2021, Gov Nasiru El-Rufai had sacked 21,770 primary school teachers, 7,310 local government employees, 3,000 personnel in the state civil Service and 1, 240 workers in the health sector.
“While the state government sacked workers with one hand, it increased the school fees in Kaduna State University by almost 500 percent.
“This clearly shows a well mapped plan to make the children of the working class to be destitutes,” the NLC said.
It stressed that the serial pattern of anti-workers and anti-trade union war of attrition by the state governor is not lost on the Nigerian public.
“Indeed, the industrial sadism of Mr El-Rufai has become legendary, it is even worse now,” the NLC said, adding that the current action breaches provisions of section 20 sub section 1(a-c), 2 and 3 of Nigeria Labour Act.
It explained that the Act demand for consultation with workers representative organisations and agreement reached on redundancy benefits before letters are issued to workers.
“We also condemn in the strongest term the violation of the terms of employment contract of the disengaged workers which provides for 60 years retirement age and 35 years of active services.
“We also consider the promise in the redundancy letters issued to current victims of reign of sadism as a mockery of the sacked workers.”
The NLC recalled that the state government had refused to pay the benefits of workers earlier sacked between 2016 and 2020.
“We call on Mr President to call El-Rufai and his ilk to order. The organized labour will not take Mr El-Rufai’s current repression of workers lying low.
“We are mobilizing every Nigerian worker for the mother of all struggles in Kaduna State.
“We will use the weapons available to us by the law to fight for the right of Kaduna State workers to decent work, ” the union said.