NLC Condemns “illegal” Mass Sack of Kaduna Workers

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai

The Nigeria Labour Congress has condemned the sack of 4, 042 local government workers by the Kaduna State Government.

Announcing the sack on Tuesday, the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Jafaru Sani, said it was part of the state government’s restructuring of the local government system in the state.

Mr. Sani also said that 3,159 staff among those disengaged had put in 10 years and were retired, while the remaining 893 had their jobs terminated for redundancy.

Speaking further, the commissioner explained that the retired workers would be paid their November salary and three months’ salary in lieu of notice, while their pension benefits would be worked out by their pension administrators.

But the NLC declared the sack ‘illegal’, saying that the action violates labour laws and industrial relations practice in the country.

“The reasons adduced by the government are spurious and unfounded,” a statement by NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, noted on Thursday.

“Aside from this, the process is patently faulty and unlawful.

“For instance, redundancy cannot be carried out without following the provisions of the Labour Act .

“When the Government of Kaduna State announced to the whole world its plan to lay off about 25,000 teachers for failing a competency test for Primary Four Class, we not only expressed our misgivings, we said the so-called competency test was a subterfuge and part of a premeditated plan to drastically cut down the workforce in furtherance of dangerous neoliberal policies.

“The latest illegal mass sack of workers lends credence to our assertions or fears.”

Mr. Wabba cautioned the state government against the boomerang effect of laying off such number of staff.

“We would want to warn of the consequences of the reckless actions of the government of Kaduna State and will call for caution and restraint on the part of the government.

“It is evident that the government has not given sufficient consideration to the social consequences of laying off en masse 5,000 workers.

“The Governor boasts that no one, absolutely nothing could stop him from carrying out his agenda of mass retrenchment of workers.”

The NLC President also questioned the campaign promises of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC.

“This is most unfortunate and a direct fulfillment of the exact opposite of his campaign promise and APC’s manifesto to create jobs.

“He often says as Governor, he has the right, power, means and will to do as he likes, but this is undemocratic and anti-workers.

“We are worried by these emotional outbursts, and their infectious effects on his peers and the polity as a whole.

“We at the Nigeria Labour Congress expected more maturity and flexibility,” he said.

Mr. Wabba advised Governor El-Rufai to rescind his decision on the mass sack and called on the President Muhammadu Buhari and APC to call him to order.

Confrontation between the NLC and the Kaduna state government started in October when the governor announced his intention to disengage 21,780 teachers, about two-thirds of the state’s teachers’ population.

The Kaduna State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, in reaction said, it had concluded arrangements to embark on an indefinite strike and shut down schools if the governor fails to shelve his plan by the end of the two-week ultimatum. The governor has dismissed their threats.

In a similar manner, the senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, condemned the governor’s plan to sack the school teachers.

“The sacking of over 21,000 primary school teachers by the Kaduna State Governor stands condemned,” he said.

“It’s inhuman and the height of lunacy by a man who derives pleasure by inflicting suffering and hardship on others.”

The matter is still in contention.

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