By Esenvosa Izah
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said it will continue to get involved in politics in order to bring matters surrounding the welfare of workers to the front burner of programmes and policies of government.
The NLC President, Mr Joe Ajaero, made the assertion during courtesy visits to some labour unions in Lagos on Thursday.
The unions include National Union of Electricity Employees; National Union of Banks, Insurance, and Financial Institutions, and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers.
Ajaero said that the labour movement owned the Labour Party (LP).
According to him, LP is a party that has the ideology of the working class movement with its charter of workers’ demands.
“We have an era that we are entering: era of politics, and we will not shy away.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress will be involved in politics; we are already involved in politics; NLC had a political party: the Labour Party (LP), and LP participated in the recent elections.
“Nigeria must exist before we practice our unionism; anybody, who emerges as the President of Nigeria will work with us, and the rights and privileges of the workers must be guaranteed.
“The current wage system, casualisation policy, and outsourcing are anti-worker; with such policies, we can’t be our brothers’ keepers, “ he said.
The labour leader encouraged union members to show interest in politics, saying, “we have not been managing it by ourselves; we have been allowing people from outside to now answer LP”.
He urged members to continue enlightening workers in the country about the LP.
“That is what we are going to impose on them; even the ones that have emerged as senators or House of Representatives members, they must, as a necessity, meet with us and we will give them our programmes.
“That is the whole essence of thinking of LP in the first place; so that their actions, inactions, and utterances will reflect the affairs of the labour movement, and there should be no pretences about it.
“We are not saying that people cannot belong to any party of their choice, but we have a party where whatever we discuss here, we take it there as workers.
“Where, if we want new minimum wage, we take it to the people that represent us there; all these issues concern the workers, and we should no longer shy away from it, “ Ajaero said.
In his remarks, the President, NUEE, Mr Martin Uzoegwu, said that the decision of the NLC president to undertake the courtesy visit could not have come at a better time.
Uzoegwu said: ”Within a few days of your assumption of office as NLC president, your impact resonates across the nation through your unequivocal position on the ongoing Nigeria national elections, emphasising against subverting the will of the people; serious engagement of state governments who have denied workers their rights and the release of locked congress secretariat in a state, just to mention a few”. (NAN)