General News of Tue, 6 Jan 20040
Ghana workers support Nigeria Unionists
Accra, Jan. 6, GNA - The Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) says it stands in solidarity with the Nigeria Labour Congress to condemn, in no uncertain terms, the arrest and detention in Nigeria of over 30 Trade Union Leaders and members for exercising their right to peaceful picketing, an acceptable aspect of trade union practice world-wide. A release from the Ghana TUC sent to GNA said "the Nigerian Police had no business in dabbling in labour disputes when there was a capable Ministry of Labour to perform that duty".
It said: "Nigeria is at the centre of peacekeeping in the West Africa Sub-Region. It is also nurturing a fledging democracy. Nigeria should, therefore, apply the same tenets of democratic principles and practices to resolve the current labour dispute rather than setting armed Police on armless civilians exercising their democratic rights towards an anti-labour employer.
"The Ghana TUC calls on the government of Nigeria to cause the immediate release of the detained Trade Union Leaders and members to allow for a peaceful resolution of the dispute by the appropriate tripartite institution of the Ministry of Labour, the Nigerian Labour Congress and the employer or his representative.
"Meanwhile as we stand by the Nigeria Labour Congress in the dispute we wish to encourage the detained Unionists to stand firm in their resolve to champion the cause of labour and keep courage in the face of the difficulties.
"We also call on the international community and individuals to condemn the action of the Nigerian Police and the attitude of the Presiding Magistrate in the dispute resolution. We think the behaviour of both of them is a very bad commentary on Nigeria and Africa."