The decision of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to split the pension union into three has pitched the government against organised labour and pensioners, it has been learnt.

Acting on a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari against the decision taken in the last days of the immediate past Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige, The Nation learnt that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) wrote the ministry, demanding explanation on why the union should be split into three.

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba also wrote the SGF, informing him that the decision to create two new unions out of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) was a violation of the laws of the land which stipulate that no new union shall be registered to represent workers where a union already exists.

Responding to the letter from the SGF, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo, said Ngige’s action was based on the powers conferred on him by the Trade Union Act.

Alo said the ministry had received applications from different interest groups seeking to register other trade unions of retirees who fall under the jurisdictional scope of the NUP.

The permanent secretary conceded that “Part B of the Third Schedule of the Trade Unions Act CAP T.14 (LFN) stipulates the jurisdictional scope of the NUP covers all pensioners from me civil service of the Federation, including local government salutary corporations, government-owned companies, educational institutions for which the government of the Federation is responsible; all such similar establishments, also private sector pensioners”.

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