The leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned Yahaya Bello, the Governor of Kogi State to stop the use of soldiers to intimidate its members in the state who are on strike over unpaid salaries.
In a letter written to the Governor by Ayuba Wabba, NLC President and made available to ICIR, the Congress said “we advise that your officials be cautioned against the use of armed soldiers to intimidate workers as the military have no role in resolving industrial disputes.”
“Every dispute generated by issues between employers and employees can only be resolved ultimately through dialogue”.
According to the letter, the labour union said it has received that some officials of the state have been going around offices in company of armed soldiers in an attempt to compel striking workers to resume work.
The letter reads partly: “We have also received reports that your officials have been going around offices in company of armed soldiers in an attempt to compel striking workers to resume work rather than encourage productive dialogue that will amicably resolve all the issues that necessitated the strike.
Apart from salaries, some of the issues that have attracted deep concerns include the endless verification exercise which has raised so much suspicion that the exercise has been so prolonged to justify non-payment of salaries and pensions.
Industrial relations is not politics and it won’t augur well for government to accept advice driven by political considerations when clearly the system provides adequate opportunities to engage in dialogue. On our part, we have always encouraged dialogue. We must face the reality of the frosty relationship between your government and workers, which has obviously been promoted by those who gain from the escalating industrial crisis through political considerations.
We know that, with your background in public service, you are capable of handling the situation better but for those who act at the background drawing political permutations with the plight of workers and pensioners.
We are ready to engage in transparent dialogue with you with the ultimate benefit of nipping the industrial crisis in the state in the overall interest of industrial peace and justice”.