Court stops labour unions’ planned strike over minimum wage

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There is no stopping us–Organised labour

The National Industrial Court of Nigeria has restrained the organised labour made up of the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress from embarking from its planned strike slate to start on November 6.

Justice Sanusi Kado gave the ruling on Friday in an ex parte application moved on behalf of the federal government by the solicitor-general of the federation and permanent secretary, federal ministry of justice, Mr. Dayo Apata.

The judge ruled that should the strike begin, it would lead to huge economic loss to both public and private institutions and could jeopardise the health of many Nigerians who would not be able to access health facilities during the period.

“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 determination5 of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction,” said the judge.

Thereafter, he adjourned the matter till November 8 for the hearing of the motion on notice seeking the interlocutory injunction to stop the strike.

The suit marked, NICN/ABJ/287/2018, was filed on November 1, 2018 in the name of the federal government and the attorney general of the federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, as the 1st and 2nd claimants, respectively.

It would be recalled that the unions had planned to embark on strike following the disagreement with the federal government over the minimum wage for workers.

While labour demanded for N30, 000 from the subsisting minimum age of N18, 000, the federal government proposed N24, 000 while the state governments said they could only afford to pay N22, 500.

Meanwhile, the organised labour reacted saying there was no going back on the November 6 proposed strike over the non-implementation minimum wage.

According to NAN, NLC, TUC and the United Labour Congress (ULC) – confirmed this after a meeting of their joint central working committee in Lagos.

The organised labour called for the implementation of the tripartite committee report concluded on October 5 or it would go on a nationwide strike.

NLC president, Mr. Mr Ayuba Wabba, who read the communique of the meeting advised affiliate members of the three unions to commence preparation to ensure the strike was effective.

According to Wabba, the members should be steadfast and dedicated to achieve their objective as workers would never receive improved welfare except through struggle.

He also said that the ‘no work no pay’ rule by the government was wrong as it negates the labour law and international convention to which Nigeria was a signatory.

ULC president, Mr Joe Ajaero, reiterated that labour would not hesitate to stop the strike if the government fulfilled its N30, 000 minimum wage demand.

He said that labour would continue to meet and negotiate with the government until midnight of the expiration of the strike.

Ajaero however said that the labour body had not received any court injunction to stop the strike contrary to any report.

“We are not aware of any court injunction. We will not discuss it because it is speculative. We advise that the minimum wage committee be allowed to submit its report,” he said.

Similarly, the president of TUC, Mr. Bobboi Kaigama, said the door of the organised labour remained open for discussion and advised that the report reached by the committee be submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari.

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