Article from www.nigeriasolidarity.org --- Campaign for Democratic and Workers' Rights in Nigeria
CDWR fully supports Nigerchin workers' strike
30 June 2006
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights' (CDWR) fully supports the ongoing strike by workers of Nigerchin Electrical Development Company Limited, Ikeja; which commenced on June 15, 2006 and has forced the Nigerchin management to operate skeletal services.
Workers take action- defend the right to join a trade union
This industrial action cuts across every department of the company, as 212 junior workers, excluding the 8 senior staff, spontaneously embarked on a ‘sit-out strike’ to press home their demand to join a trade union of their choice; a battle which they have been waging since April 2005.
The strike was propelled by the decision of the management to stop deducting check-off dues of workers in March 2006 thereby de-unionising them. As a result the workers decided that the management had gone too far in denying them their rights continually and ceaselessly; especially by dictating and compelling them through undemocratic means, to join a union contrary to their desire.
It must be stated explicitly that the right to choose and belong to a union, is the fundamental right of workers as guaranteed by the Trade Union Amendment Act 2005 in its section 12, sub section 4, which states that “membership of a union by employees shall be voluntary and no employee shall be forced to join any trade union or be victimised for refusing to join or remain a member".
As a matter of fact, the Nigerchin management decided to issue a ‘general notice’ on June 27, 2006 stating that: “the board of directors has decided to close down the company because workers have abandoned work”. It stated further “all workers will be paid their full entitlements on June 29, 2006”. It is noteworthy that the management did not employ any avenue to discuss with the aggrieved workers before issuing the said notice.
The CDWR condemns the decision of the Nigerchin management in totality, and calls on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), National Union of Shops and Distributive Employees (NUSDE) and all labour and pro-labour organisations to intervene speedily in the matter in the support the workers interests and rights.
The CDWR demands as follows:
1) Nigerchin management must respect the workers’ rights guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution
2) Nigerchin management must be ready to dialogue with the NLC, NUSDE and any other interested labour and pro labour organisation for a speedy resolution of the looming crisis.
3) Management must respect constitutional provisions and relevant labour laws.
4) No to the victimization of workers who took part in the ‘sit out strike’no worker should be victimized
5) Improve welfare and working condition of workers.