NURTW: It Is Not Correct To Make Such Suggestion – Lalong Tackles NLC.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, has rejected claims by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that he (Lalong) is taking sides in the dispute between factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).

Recall that the NLC had on Thursday, in a statement issued by its General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugbaja, accused the Minister of violating the agreement by supporting a faction of the NURTW against a democratically elected leadership of the Union. The Labour Centre had vowed to resist any attempt to impose another leadership on the NURTW.

Ugboaja lamented that the factional union is bent on sabotaging the recently ratified agreement between the Labour movement and the federal government.

The NLC wondered how a Federal Minister of Labour, tasked with safeguarding the rights and interests of diverse economic stakeholders, would take actions that could undermine the very foundations of collective engagement.

Reacting to the allegation, Lalong, in a statement issued by Olajide Oshundun, Director, Press and Public Relations, in the ministry last night with the title, “FG not undermining resolution of Labour-Federal Government Agreement of October 2, 2023, described as unfounded the allegation by the NLC that he was supporting any group.

Lalong stated that he had held meetings with the different factions of NURTW to reconcile them since the issue was brought to his notice.

The statement read: “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has been drawn to a press release issued by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on 18th October 2023, wherein it alleged that the Honourable Minister, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong is moving to undermine the critical Labour-Federal Government Agreement of October 2, 2023.

“We wish to unequivocally refute the allegation and put it on record that it is unfounded.

Let it be reiterated that since assuming office and upon the dispute between the various groups within the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) being brought to his attention, the Honourable Minister has given consistent, adequate, and fair attention to the matter with a view to resolving it.

“Several meetings have been held to resolve the issue with representatives of the disputing groups, and the efforts are still ongoing.

“Therefore, it is not correct to suggest that the Minister is supporting any of the groups in the course of the negotiations.

Members of the NURTW, the NLC, and the entire Labour movement should be assured that the Minister, as Chief Conciliator, will continue to work with all parties to ensure that there is reconciliation, harmony, and industrial peace.”