Nigeria Labour Congress

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is an umbrella organization for trade unions in Nigeria.

Nigeria Labour Congress
HeadquartersAbuja, Nigeria
4 million
Joe Ajaero
Key people
Joe Ajaero, President
Emmanuel Ugboaja, General Secretary
Adams Oshiomhole, former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (right) with U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Howard Franklin Jeter (center), July 5, 2002, Lagos.

History edit

The Nigerian Labour Congress was founded in December 1978, as a merger of four different organisations: the Nigeria Trade Union Congress (NTUC), Labour Unity Front (LUF), United Labour Congress (ULC) and Nigeria Workers' Council (NWC).[1] However, the recently-established Federal Military Government, led by Murtala Mohammed, refused to recognise the new organisation, and instead set up the Adebiyi Tribunal to investigate the activities of trade unions and their leaders. The Tribunal reported in 1976 and claimed that all the existing trade union centres propagated Cold War ideologies, depended on funding from international union federations, and mismanaged funds. This was used as a justification to ban all four centres, with M. O. Abiodun appointed as the administrator of trade unions. He accepted the establishment of a new Nigeria Labour Congress, on the condition that the approximately 1,500 affiliated unions were restructured into 42 industrial unions, plus 19 unions representing senior staff.[2][3]

In 1978, the Nigeria Labour Congress was established, with the 42 industrial unions affiliated. It was to be the only legal trade union federation.[2] Its leadership included many of the leading figures from its four predecessors, with Wahab Goodluck becoming its founding president.[4]

During its history, conflicts with the military regime twice led to the dissolution of the NLC's national organs, the first in 1988 under the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida and the second in 1994, under the regime of General Sani Abacha.[5] In 1996, the 42 affiliates of the NLC were merged into 29, by Act of Parliament.[2] Under Nigeria's military governments, labour leaders were frequently arrested and union meetings disrupted. Following democratic reforms in the country, some of the anti-union regulations were abolished in January 1999. The same month Adams Oshiomhole was elected President of the reformed organisation.

In the early 2000s, conflict between the government and the NLC escalated due to the organisation's opposition to higher fuel prices.[6] The price increases are the result of decisions by the Olusegun Obasanjo government to dramatically reduce subsidies and to deregulate the purchase and sale of fue[7] The NLC has led several general strikes protesting the government's fuel price policy.

In September 2004, the NLC gave the federal government an ultimatum to reverse the decision to reintroduce the controversial fuel tax or face a nationwide protest strike. The strike threat was made despite the fact that a Federal High Court judgement in an earlier dispute had declared the organisation lacking legal power to call a general strike over government policies.[8]

Following the announcement of the strike plans, the NLC claimed President Adams Oshiomhole was arrested October 9, 2004 at a protest at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport. According to the organisation, Oshiomhole was "abducted by a team of operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) numbering over fifteen, who overpowered him, wrestled him to the ground and bundled him into a standby Peugeot 504 station wagon, which bore no licence plates."[9] The State Security Services called the claim "sensational and inaccurate reporting", saying that the NLC president had a "misunderstanding" with field operatives, but that the matter was soon resolved. A presidential spokesperson claimed that Oshiomhole was only invited for a "chat" at the airport, no arrest having taken place.[10]

In 2005, the law was changed to permit other trade union federation to receive government recognition, and also to permit senior staff unions to join the NLC.[2] In 2016, about 25 affiliates left to form the United Labour Congress, but they rejoined the NLC in 2020.[11][12] By the end of the year, it had 43 affiliates, which as of 2016 represented more than 4,000,000 members.[13]

One of the strongest protest of the NLC can be traced to January 2012 during the President Goodluck Jonathan administration. The president and his economic team had argued that fuel subsidy payments was making the country lose billions of naira and it will save around "£4.2bn annually to invest in underperforming refineries that have forced Nigeria to import its own oil once it has been refined".[14] The president said his government was no more interested in the payment of fuel subsidy to petroleum markerters.[15] This will move fuel prices which was sold for N65 a litre with subsidy inclusive to around N141 which implies more than a hundred per cent increase.[16][17]

The campaign for fuel subsidy removal was supported by the ministers in his cabinet and mostly chaired by the then finance minister/coordinating minister for economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala.[18] The government announced that fuel subsidy was going to be removed by January 2012 and this announcement was not welcomed by the Nigeria Labour Congress. Abdulwahed Omar, the then NLC president challenged the government that there will be wide spread mass protest in Nigeria if it continued with its plans to remove fuel subsdy.[15] The NLC was able to rally other trade unions and civicl societies to support its planned protest. This challenge was marked by actions when the government moved on with the removal of payments for fuel subsidy.[19][20] By 9 January 2012, massive protest erupted around Nigeria and in major cities including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano.[21] These protest crippled the economy as there was a total shutdown of the Nations different workforce and it lasted more than five working days.[22] This led the then president Jonathan to announce on live TV that government will now subsidize fuel prices and reduce it to about $2.75 (£1.80) a gallon.[23] The protest was eventually suspended after this broadcast by the federal government.[24]

Together with the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, the NLC supported Peter Obi and the Labour Party in the 2023 Nigerian general election, a party the NLC started in 2002. This is the first time the union has expressed explicit support for a political party.[25][26]

Women's wing edit

The National Women Commission is the national women's wing of NLC. It was created in 2003 to increase the participation of women in the affairs of the union.[27][28] Beginning in 1983, demand for more recognition of working women led to the establishment of women's wing in state capitals. Currently state branches of NLC have a women's committee and the chairperson of the committee is an automatic member of the administrative council of the state's NLC. On the national level, the head of the National Women Commission is automatically a Vice-President of NLC.The president of the National Women Commission is Comrade Rita Goyit.[27] The women wing also engages in massive rallies and protest in support for women rights and against gender based violence against women.[29]

Affiliates edit

Current affiliates edit

The following unions are affiliated to the NLC:[30]

Union Abbreviation Founded Membership (1988)[31] Membership (1995)[32] Membership (2005)[31]
Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics ASUP
Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions ASURI
Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU 1978
Agricultural and Allied Employees' Union of Nigeria AAEUN 2008 N/A N/A N/A
Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees AUPCTRE 1996 N/A N/A 85,000
Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union COEASU
Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ISSSAN 1981
Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria JUSUN
Maritime Workers' Union of Nigeria MWUN 1996 N/A N/A 83,479[33]
Medical and Health Workers' Union of Nigeria MHWUN 1978 41,000 100,000 45,000
Metal Products Senior Staff Association of Nigeria MEPROSSAN
National Association of Academic Technologists NAAT
National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives NANNM 1978 50,000 100,000 125,000
National Union of Air Transport Employees NUATE 1978 16,000 8,820[33]
National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institution Employees NUBIFIE 1978 69,613 80,000 15,060[33]
National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Employees NUCFRLANMPE 1996 N/A N/A 32,121[33]
National Union of Civil Engineering, Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers NUCECFWW 1996 N/A N/A 62,000
National Union of Electricity Employees NUEE 1978 25,893 25,500 24,000
National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees NUFBTE 1978 44,405 40,000 160,000
National Union of Hotels and Personal Services Workers NUHPSW 1978 30,000 30,000 3,613[33]
National Union of Lottery Agents and Employees NULAE
National Union of Postal and Telecommunication Employees NUPTE 1978 29,000 30,000 8,000
National Union of Printing, Publishing and Paper Products Workers NUPPPPROW 1996 N/A N/A 6,623[33]
National Union of Road Transport Workers NURTW 1978 30,000 70,000 96,000
National Union of Shop and Distributive Employees NUSDE 1978 20,000 4,628[33]
National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria NUTGTWN 1978 41,312 47,000 30,000
Nigeria Civil Service Union NCSU 1978 205,397 205,000 100,000
Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ 1978 3,950 5,000 35,000
Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees NULGE 1978 245,000 24,434[33]
Nigeria Union of Mine Workers NUMW 1996 N/A N/A 2,739[33]
Nigeria Union of Pensioners NUP 1978 286,000 700,000 1,000,000
Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers NUPENG 1978 13,750 35,000 8,000
Nigeria Union of Public Service Reportorial, Secretarial, Data Processors and Allied Workers NUPSRSDAW 1978 10,949[33]
Nigeria Union of Railwaymen NUR 1978 20,634 33,000
Nigeria Union of Teachers NUT 1978 250,000 250,000 35,000
Nigeria Welders' and Filters' Association NIWELFU
Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions NASU 1978 260,000 260,000 67,462[33]
Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria PASAN
Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers' Union RATTAWU 1978 80,000 5,000[34] 7,000
Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics SSANIP
Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities SSANU 1993 N/A
Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education in Nigeria SSUCOEN
Steel and Engineering Workers' Union of Nigeria SEWUN 1996 N/A N/A 28,000[35]

Former affiliates edit

Union Abbreviation Founded Left Reason not affiliated Membership (1995)[32]
Agricultural and Allied Workers' Union of Nigeria AAWUN 1978 2008 Merged into AAEUN 6,000[34]
Automobile, Boatyard, Transport Equipment and Allied Workers' Union of Nigeria ABTEAWUON 1978 1996 Merged into SEWUN 17,000
Civil Service Technical Workers' Union of Nigeria CSTWU 1978 1996 Merged into AUPCTRE 100,000
Dockworkers' Union of Nigeria DUN 1978 1996 Merged into MWUN 20,000
Footwear, Leather and Rubber Products Workers' Union of Nigeria FLRPWUN 1978 1996 Merged into NUCFRLANMPE 11,500
Iron and Steel Workers' Union of Nigeria ISWUN 1978 1996 Merged into SEWUN
Metal Products Workers' Union of Nigeria MPWUN 1978 1996 Merged into SEWUN 7,000
Metallic and Non-Metallic Mine Workers' Union MNMWU 1978 1996 Merged into NUMW 20,000
National Union of Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Workers NUCANMP 1978 1996 Merged into NUCFRLANMPE 40,000
National Union of Furniture, Fixtures and Wood Workers NUFFWW 1978 1996 Merged into NUCECFWW 13,000
National Union of Paper and Paper Products Workers NUPPPW 1978 1996 Merged into NUPPPROW
National Union of Public Corporations Employees NUPCE 1978 1996 Merged into AUPCTRE
Nigeria Coal Miners' Union NCMU 1978 1996 Merged into NUMW 1,500
Nigeria Ports Authority Workers' Union NPAWU 1978 1996 Merged into MWUN 22,500
Nigeria Union of Construction and Civil Engineering Workers NUCCEW 1978 1996 Merged into NUCECFWW 73,000
Nigeria Union of Seamen and Water Transport Workers NUSWTW 1978 1996 Merged into MWUN
Precision, Electrical and Related Equipments Workers' Union PEREWU 1978 1996 Merged into SEWUN 10,000
Printing and Publishing Workers' Union PAPWU 1978 1996 Merged into NUPPPROW
Recreational Services Employees' Union RSEU 1978 1996 Merged into AUPCTRE 17,000
Union of Shipping, Clearing and Forwarding Agencies Workers' of Nigeria USCFAWN 1978 1996 Merged into MWUN 4,000

Leadership edit

Presidents edit

1978: Wahab Goodluck
1979: Hassan Sunmonu[36]
1984: Ali Chiroma[36]
1988: Pascal Bafyau[36]
1994: Post vacant
1999: Adams Oshiomhole[36][37]
2007: Abdulwaheed Omar[36]
2015: Ayuba Wabba[36]
2023: Joe Ajaero

General Secretaries edit

1978: Aliyu Dangiwa[38]
1986: Lasisi Osunde[38]
1992: Post vacant[38]
2001: John Odah[38]
2014: Peter Ozo-Eson[38]
2019: Emmanuel Ugboaja[38]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Nigeria Labour Congress elects new leadership". Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  2. ^ a b c d Otuturu, Gogo (2013). "A SURVEY OF CENTRAL * LABOUR ORGANIZATIONS IN NIGERIA" (PDF). Labour Law Review. 7 (2). Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) - Nigeria (Ratification: 1960)". International Labour Organization. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  4. ^ "The President". Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  5. ^ "Nigerian Unions Raise Stakes In Standoff With Military Regime". Christian Science Monitor. 1994-07-14. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  6. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Nigerians groan as fuel shortage worsens …daily activities increasingly crippled". The Informant247. 2022-03-16. Retrieved 2022-06-08.
  7. ^ "Nigerians strike to protest reduced fuel subsidies, 2003 | Global Nonviolent Action Database". Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  8. ^ "Nigeria unions warn over oil hike". 27 September 2004.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2004-10-19. Retrieved 2004-10-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2004-12-10. Retrieved 2004-10-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Adedigba, Azeezat (16 July 2020). "NLC, ULC resolve rift, merge". Premium Times. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  12. ^ Ahiuma-Young, Victor (21 December 2016). "Emergence of United Labour Congress causes ripples". Vanguard. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  13. ^ "ILO and National Labour Congress discuss the future of work". International Labour Organization. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Nigeria faces mass strike and protests over discontinued state fuel subsidy". The Guardian. 2012-01-08. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  15. ^ a b eribake, akintayo (2012-01-01). "New Year Shocker! Fuel now to sell at N141 per litre". Vanguard News. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  16. ^ "Riots turn deadly in Nigeria over hike in fuel prices". France 24. 2012-01-03. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  17. ^ Stephanie Busari (6 January 2012). "What is behind Nigeria fuel protests?". CNN. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  18. ^ eribake, akintayo (2011-12-25). "Fuel Subsidy Removal: How Okonjo-Iweala convinced Jonathan,Sambo, ministers". Vanguard News. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  19. ^ "Nigeria Strike to Proceed Monday Despite Court Order | Voice of America - English". Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  20. ^ Schechter, Danny. "Opinion: #OccupyNigeria". Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  21. ^ "Occupy Nigeria Movement Says it Won't Stop Fighting Government Corruption | Voice of America - English". Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  22. ^ "3 Killed as Nigerians Strike Against End of Fuel Subsidy | Voice of America - English". Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  23. ^ Lagos, Associated Press in (2012-01-16). "Nigeria restores fuel subsidy to quell nationwide protests". The Guardian. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  24. ^ Brock, Felix Onuah, Joe (2012-01-16). "Nigeria unions suspend strike after fuel price cut". Reuters. Retrieved 2021-06-03.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ "Nigeria's Election Could Break the Political Mold, But It Won't End the Social Crisis". Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  26. ^ Ibeh, Nnenna (2023-02-22). ""Vote for Peter Obi," Nigeria Labour Congress tells all workers". - Nigeria news. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  27. ^ a b "Women & Youth". Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  28. ^ "NLC calls for end to violence against women". Abuja. March 8, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  29. ^ "NLC holds rally to stop gender based violence". TVC News. 2019-03-31. Retrieved 2021-06-03.
  30. ^ "NLC Affiliates Contacts". Nigeria Labour Congress. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  31. ^ a b LeVan, A. Carl; Ukata, Patrick (2018). The Oxford Handbook of Nigerian Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0192526328.
  32. ^ a b Nigeria. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs. 1995.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Figure is for 2002. Erapi, Godwin Esierumua (2005). Trade Unions and Employment Relationship in Privatised State Enterprises: A Case-Study of the Finance and Petroleum Industries in Nigeria (PDF). University of Warwick. pp. 330–331. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  34. ^ a b Figure is for 1994. Erapi, Godwin Esierumua (2005). Trade Unions and Employment Relationship in Privatised State Enterprises: A Case-Study of the Finance and Petroleum Industries in Nigeria (PDF). University of Warwick. pp. 325–326. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  35. ^ Figure is for 2009. "Crisis In SEWUN Resolved With The Assistance Of IMF And NUMSA". IndustriALL. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  36. ^ a b c d e f Oyesola, Bimbola (26 February 2018). "Celebrating years of struggles, trials, successes". The Sun. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  37. ^ "Oshiomhole : Consistent labour activist and political aficionado @ 67". Vanguard News. 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2022-03-18.
  38. ^ a b c d e f Ahiuma-Young, Victor (22 August 2019). "Breaking: Ugboaja emerges NLC General Secretary". Vanguard. Retrieved 24 December 2020.

External links edit