There are clear indications that the staff of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) under the aegis of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), are warming up for a showdown against their colleagues under auspices of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC).
While the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said it would lead all its affiliate unions to join AUPCTRE to picket CAC headquarters starting on Wednesday, for a three-day massive protest over alleged “anti-union” stance of the management; SSASCGOC, an affiliate of Trade Union of Congress (TUC) maintained that it would not fold its arms while the NLC progresses against the rule of law.
A formal notice from information unit of NLC, noted that “the congress will be leading its affiliate unions to picket the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Abuja in support of AUCPTRE (its affiliate) against which CAC management has perpetrated anti-union activities.”
Daily Trust reports that the crisis started when AUPCTRE through its Branch Chairman, Comrade Ibrahim Makirfi, accused the Registrar-General of the commission, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, of denying his staff promotion.
He also listed denial of their earned promotion arrears, stoppage of all staff loans (Internal & External as well as cooperative societies) among others, as part of their grouse against Abubakar.
Makirfi, had in an interview with our correspondent said, “The issue we have with the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has to do with the promotion of staff of the commission and other issues. There are some entitlements meant for staff that are not negotiable. For instance, the issue of promotion. There is no motivation to any worker anywhere except promotion.”
But SSASCGOC quickly approached National Industrial Court, Abuja, arguing that “the NLC and AUPCTRE do not have jurisdiction over senior staff of the Corporate Affairs Commission and cannot speak for them.”
In a letter signed by its General Secretary, Ayo Olorunfemi, and dated 12th February, which was sent to the Honourable Minister of Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, a copy of which was made available to Daily Trust, the union claimed that the Court had made several pronouncements/judgment to that effect, saying it reaffirmed the freedom of association as enshrined in the Nigeria Constitution.
The letter partly read, “We have on good record that the Nigeria Labour Congress in its efforts to reverse the position of the law which has been interpreted by the National Industrial Court has once again deplored the instrumentality of academic exercise and threats, in a fruitless attempt to set aside the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction through the back door.
“The entire membership of SSASCGOC who are affiliates of Trade Union Congress are all waiting and warming up. We insist that AUPCTRE has no locus standi under the law as pronounced by the NIC judgment, to speak for any senior staff be it in CAC or any Statutory Corporation until the judgment of NIC is reversed through the court of appeal or supreme court.
“We make bold to state this because the National Industrial Court has made several pronouncements/ judgment to that effect that the freedom of association as enshrined in the Nigeria Constitution in not absolute. The Trade Union Act specifically classifies AUPCTRE as a junior staff union.
“These judgments and the provision of the Trade Union Acts can never be subjected to the NLC President’s mere internal digestion. He must obey the judgment otherwise he risks being charged for contempt of the court.”