The organised labour insisted on going ahead with its planned indefinite strike next Tuesday over the national minimum wage despite a restraining order by the court. This was the position of the Labour movement after a joint meeting by three Labour centres, including, the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade union Congress and the United Labour Congress.
The Deputy National Secretary of the ULC, Chris Onyeka who was at the meeting in Abuja described the said court injunction as mere speculation, adding that they have not been served any court order. Onyeka said
“The Labour movement would not be intimidated by the federal government,” adding that they have resolved to commence the strike next week.
The planned nationwide strike by organised labour in Nigeria, comprising the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, was allegedly stopped by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria yesterday.
Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court who passed judgement on the ex parte application filed on behalf of the FG by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata, agreed with FG’s counsel on the planned nationwide strike leading to huge economic loss and possibly put the health of many Nigerians in jeopardy as they might not be able to access health facilities during the period.
The Judge who ordered that the court order and other papers be filed on all the defendants, adjourned the matter till November 8 for the hearing of the motion on notice seeking the interlocutory injunction to stop the strike.
Justice Kado specifically barred the NLC, the TUC and the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Governors Forum, who were listed as 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants in the matter, respectively, fom taking steps capable of destroying the ‘Res’ (subject matter) of the case before him. He directed that the order stopping the planned strike should be served on both the NLC and TUC immediately.
According to Justice Kado, “It is the overall interest of justice and stability of the society to grant the order of interim injunction against the 1st and 2nd defendants (NLC and TUC), their members, privies, agents, proxies, workmen, or servants from embarking on or taking part in the planned strike or industrial action scheduled to commence on November 6, 2018, in whatever form pending the hearing or determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction which is pending before the court.
“It is also necessary to grant an order of interim injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants (NLC and TUC), their members, privies, agents, proxies, employees, workmen, or servants from engaging or taking part in any conduct or act in contemplation or furtherance of the strike or industrial action scheduled to commence on November 6, 2018, pending the hearing and etermination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”
The ruling followed a motion FG filed through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN. The motion, which was attached to the suit marked NICN/ABJ/287/2018, was moved in court by the Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr. Dayo Apata. FG told the court that the country was at risk of plunging back to recession should the labour unions be allowed to embark on nationwide strike action.
It decried that the strike would equally jeopardise the health of citizens that may seek access to health facilities, and also affect the livelihood of many Internally Displaced Persons currently sheltered in various camps owing to recent flooding that ravaged some states. Justice Kado agreed with FG that the nation’s economy, health and rights of people would be hampered by the planned industrial action by the organised labour.
It was reported few days ago, that following the disagreement in increasing the national minimum wage from the current N18,000 to N30,000, the organised labour threatened to commence an indefinite strike action from November 6.
The last meeting of the tripartite negotiation committee on the minimum wage had ended in deadlock, after the FG insisted that it could only afford to pay N25,000, while the governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum had held on to N22,500 and the labour N30,000.