The Secretariat Complex of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in Rivers State is still under lock and key, following what observers see as the growing face-off between the Rivers State Government and organized labour.
Labour officials who were at the complex penultimate Sunday when stern-faced security operatives arrived said they were apparently taken by surprise by the sudden appearance of security operatives who came in the evening to ask them out of their offices, claiming they had “orders from above.”
Last week, the Rivers State Government offered an explanation, saying it had sealed off the place which was handed over to labour a few months ago to allow its officials carry out an integrity test
It is not clear if prior to the visit of the security agents, Labour had complained of defects in the construction of the said structure, but the decision to seal off the place, observers insist, is coming against the backdrop of sharp disagreements arising between the labour unions and the Wike administration over the new minimum wage.
Labour officials who went round media organizations last week, following their inability to organize a briefing as planned expressed serious indignation over the action by the government.
This means that the NLC secretariat belonging to Rivers workers who are associated with the labour movement is now off limits to all until further notice.
recall that a Government statement had dared organized labour to go on strike. That statement warned that the consequences would be dire if labour attempts to call out workers on strike.
By shutting down the Labour Secretariat, whoever was responsible for depriving workers of a meeting ground has sent a clear message to labour leaders.
As the news of the purported shut down of the State labour office made the round last week, many workers expressed unhappiness over attempts to intimidate them.
They vowed that no matter what happens, they would carry out their threat to down tools and fight their cause if government does not mean their demand to pay arrears.