Government’s Plea to Labour Unions
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have been urged by the Federal Government to reconsider their plan for a nationwide indefinite strike scheduled for October 3.
The government contends that such a strike would constitute a direct violation of an existing court injunction.
Fuel Subsidy Dispute Underpins Strike Threat
The primary issues prompting the organized labor unions to contemplate a strike revolve around the removal of fuel subsidies, fuel price increases, and related matters concerning palliatives and workers’ welfare.
These contentious topics are already before the National Industrial Court (NIC) for adjudication.
Federal Government’s Correspondence to Unions
In a letter dated September 26, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), reached out to the head of the legal team representing NLC and TUC, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), to request that the unions abandon their proposed strike action.
The government’s communication emphasized the importance of respecting court orders and avoiding actions that could undermine the legal process.
History of Legal Disputes
The letter referenced previous correspondences and legal actions related to labor protests, highlighting the government’s stance on the need to prevent the unions from resorting to self-help and jeopardizing court orders.
Contempt proceedings had been initiated against labor leaders in response to previous nationwide actions but were later halted to facilitate negotiations between the government and the unions.
Violation of Court Orders
The government contends that the proposed strike action, as stated in a communiqué issued by NLC and TUC on September 26, would contravene a pending interim injunctive order issued on June 5, 2023.
This order specifically restrains both the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress from engaging in any industrial action or strike until the pending Motion on Notice is heard and decided.
Government’s Expectation of Compliance
The Federal Government emphasizes that a court order, regardless of any party’s opinion, remains legally binding and enforceable until formally set aside.
It appeals to the labor unions to lead by example in adhering to court orders rather than flouting them.
Copies Sent to High-Ranking Officials
The Minister of Labour and Employment, the Chief of Staff to the President, the National Security Adviser, the Inspector-General of Police, and the Director-General of the State Security Services (DSS) were among the officials who received copies of the government’s communication regarding the planned strike.