Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, for over two years, has been enmeshed in booming controversies. His political and religious foes, labour, even to the common man on the street of Kaduna State are at war with the vibrant governor. And he seemed not to be bothered.
A statement by Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Thursday, in Abuja, condemned the governor’s sack of 4,042 local government workers in the State. Ayuba Wabba, President of NLC said the action of the State Government was illegal.
His words: “The purported sack violates the provisions of all labour laws, industrial relations practice as well as processes. The reasons adduced by the government are spurious and unfounded. Aside from this, the process is patently faulty and unlawful, and redundancy cannot be carried out without following the provisions of the Labour Act”.
Ayuba added: “When Kaduna Government announced the plan to lay off about 25,000 teachers for failing a competency test for Primary Four Class, we expressed our misgivings. We said that the so-called competency test was a subterfuge and part of a premeditated plan to drastically cut down the workforce”.
He further said: “This is in furtherance to dangerous neo-liberal policies. The latest illegal mass sack of workers lends credence to our assertions or fears. 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”.
He said the government did not give consideration to the social consequences of disengaging 4,042 workers. He condemned reports of the governor’s boasts that his agenda for mass retrenchment of workers in Kaduna State Civil Service is unstoppable.
NLC President said: “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”.
Concern about the governor’s characteristics, Ayuba further said: “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”.
NLC President said the issued statement serves as notice, and urged the government to rescind its decision on the mass sack. He said Labour called on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the APC, to prevail on the governor and call him to order.
Ayuba said the workers would use all lawful means available to contest the wave of the mass sack, and NLC would mobilize workers and pensioners across the nation and its civil society allies in solidarity with workers in Kaduna.