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Labour Leaders express outrage at circular restricting tenure

Labour

Organised Labour within the country’s public sector unions has opposed a directive issued by the Federation’s Office of the Head of Service (HoS).

The directive seeks to restrict the tenure of union officers to two terms of four years each. Labour leaders condemn the circular, labelling it as illegal and having no legal force.

Labour representatives argue that the circular is detrimental, constitutes an anomaly, and represents unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of trade unions. This, they assert, goes against established laws and international standards.

In response, the General Secretary of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Vice President of Public Service International (PSI), Prince Peters Adeyemi, stated: “It is inconsistent with relevant trade union laws and a violation of the provisions in the federal government approved constitutions of industrial unions.

“The circular is a nullity and cannot stand the test of time. The office of the HoS is usurping the functions of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. The HoS is overstepping her bounds.”

Similarly, the President of Amalgamated Union of Public Cooperation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, AUPCTRE, Benjamin Anthony, among others, claimed: “The circular was smuggled in because during the discussing of the Public Service Rule, PSR with Labour at Public Service Institute nothing like that was discussed.”

An anonymous public sector union leader criticised the circular, labelling it as toxic and in violation of International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 87. saying, “The circular violates the provisions of ILO’s Convention 87, which guarantees the freedom of Association and protection of the rights to organise for workers and employers.

“It is also enshrined in section 40 of the 1999 constitution. Articles 1, 2, 3, and 4, among others of Convention 87, guarantee the right of workers and employers to exercise these rights without interference from the government.”

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Recall that the public sector unions had earlier rejected a circular dated August 1, 2023, and a reminder dated November 30, 2023, contending, among others, that “As a matter of fact and law, Trade Unions are registered according to the provisions of Trade Unions Act which clearly provides for tenures of Executives of Trade Unions thus, appointment and removal of union Executives are not within the purview of the office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation.”

The unions affected by this issue include the Amalgamated Union of Public Cooperation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), NASU, Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU), Nigeria Union of Public Service Reportorial, Secretarial, Data Processors and Allied Workers (NUPSRAW), and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM).

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Ihesiulo Grace

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