The internal crisis rocking the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) deepened with an affiliate of the body lodging a petition against the leadership. It accused it of “illegal and fraudulent insertions into the constitution” of the central labour organisation.
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, (NASU), in a petition to the Registrar of Trade Unions dated June 6, 2014, drew the attention of the Registrar, the Minister of Labour , other affiliate unions and state councils to the alleged insertions.
It stated: “Article 19 under the heading: General Secretary, a new sub section 3(1) was inserted thus, “the General Secretary shall (i) be appointed by the NEC and shall be the administrative head of the National Secretariat.
It added: “This is something which, if done by government or any other organization, we in the labour movement will protest against and call such a fraudulent act”.“Article 35, under the heading: Payment of Dues “ a new subsection (3) was inserted thus: “To prevent bulk payment of affiliation dues towards the Delegates Conference in order to obtain more delegates. Any payment by a union in excess of its ordinary and normal monthly dues of the preceding years from the last conference, shall not apply for the purpose of determining delegates”.
NASU in its petition signed by its general secretary, Mr. Peters Adeyemi said: “The insertions were not the product of the constitutional amendments discussed and approved at the 10th Delegates Conference of the NLC held on 1-3rd March, 2011.” It advised the registrar “not to oblige the NLC leadership with the registration of the congress constitution with the two subsections that have been inserted contrary to the general wishes of delegates”.
Several attempts to speak with the acting general secretary, Comrade Chris Uyot on phone, yesterday, were unsuccessful as he did not respond.
NASU, which had earlier sued the NLC for N100 million added “ we hereby wish to place it on record that the insertion of these two new and strange subsections by the leadership of the Congress is neither accidental nor a mistake. Clearly, they are a continuation of the plot by a few elements to destroy the very foundation and engine room of the trade union movement in the country”.
The Constitution is crucial to the next delegates conference of the NLC due to hold in February 2015 and its application could determine who gets what post.
NASU insisted that the amendments approved at the last delegates conference which was printed and circulated to all delegates had the heading “ General Secretary “ with the following amendments
“ (vi) to read : “ In consultation with the President issue out notices of meetings of organs of the Congress”. (vii) Ensure proper keeping of record of activities of Congress and (v) Delete the phrase “ Approved and signed by him/her in the required formal and replace same with “ scrutinized by him/her for subsequent approval by the President”.
The union stated that since the 1977/78 re-organisation of industrial unionism, general secretaries are full time officers who double as “ chief executive officers of these unions”.
It warned “ We are prepared to take the necessary steps against this dubious attempt to doctor the constitution of Congress by the NLC leadership”.