The Federal Ministry of Justice said that the 7 days notice issued by Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to embark on strike is in contempt of the order of National Industrial Court and would attract adverse consequences if they went ahead with strike.
A statement signed by Solicitor-General of the Federation & Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. B.E. Jedy-Agba said the attention of the Ministry has been drawn to “media reports indicating that the National President (Joe Ajaero) and Secretary- General (Emmanuel Ugboaja, mni) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) endorsed a 7-day notice of their intention to embark on a nationwide strike action from 2nd August 2023 if the demands of the labour unions are not met.”
The ministry said it is pertinent to alert members of the NLC and the general public to the pendency of SUIT NO: NICN/ABJ/158/2023 – FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA & ANOR V. NIGERIAN LABOUR CONGRESS & ANOR before the National Industrial Court, wherein His Lordship, Anuwe, J., on 5th June 2023 granted an injunctive order restraining Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress from embarking on the planned industrial action/or strike of any nature, pending the hearing and determination of the pending Motion on Notice,.
The said Motion on notice is also praying for an order of interlocutory injunction for parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of the dispute or issues submitted to the court adding that the said Motion on Notice is still pending.
“It is noted that the issues (removal of fuel subsidy, hike in prices of petrol and consequential increase in cost of living, etc) which precipitated the above court action are the very same issues over which NLC has now issued another strike notice.
“The NLC has submitted to the jurisdiction of the court and is being represented by the reputable law firm of Femi Falana, SAN.
“It is therefore our minimum expectation that NLC will allow the courts perform their constitutional roles rather than resorting to self-help and undermining the orders of the court.
“We note with dismay that this latest strike notice is consistent with the inexplicable disdain which the NLC leadership has visited on the authority of the court in recent times following earlier inciting and derogatory remarks made by the NLC President against the court.
“Indeed, the avowed penchant of the leadership of the union for casting aspersions on the Judiciary is quite worrisome and concerning.
The ministry of Justice stated that, aside the above legal inhibition against any strike action of any nature, “we also note that both the Federal and State Governments are engaging with stakeholders to cushion the collateral effect of the removal of fuel subsidy and increment in fuel price.”
It said, “It would be a great act of service to Nigerian workers and the nation’s economy for NLC to explore negotiations rather than embark on any strike action.
“We therefore urge NLC to allow good reason to prevail by adhering to the time-tested principles of lis pendis and rule of law to avert adverse consequences,” it added.