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Court orders labor to suspend planned strike for economic reasons – but they are forging ahead

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Court orders labor to suspend planned strike for economic reasons – but they are forging ahead

The National Industrial Court (NIC) of Nigeria has ordered the organized labor, comprising the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and the United Labour Congress (ULC), not to embark on its indefinite strike scheduled to commence on November 6.

Backstory: Justice Sanusi Kado issued the order on Friday in a ruling on 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.

Justice Kado ruled that if the strike is held, it would lead to huge economic loss to both public and private institutions and will jeopardize the health of many Nigerians who would not be able to access health facilities during the period.

Quote: “The affidavit evidence has equally stated that the people living in the IDPs will be adversely affected by the strike as there will be no movement during the strike due to the withdrawal of services, more particularly, in the petroleum sector. The impact of the strike will be too devastating to the economy and thereby affect developmental goals. There is also the fear that the country may slump back to recession if the strike occurs. I am afraid, if the strike is allowed to proceed as planned, there will be a lot of people who will not be able to access medical facilities, and even where they can access the medical facilities, medical personnel may not be there to attend to them. Even the patients currently in the hospitals may likely develop more complications due to lack of presence of medical facilities to attend to their needs,” Justice Kado said.

Organized labor had threatened to commence the indefinite strike action to demand an increase in the national minimum wage from the current N18,000.

The last negotiation meeting on the minimum wage had ended in deadlock after the Federal Government insisted that it could only afford to pay N25,000, and governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum insisted on to N22,500 while labor pressed for N30,000.

Justice Kado adjourned the matter until November 8 where there will be a hearing of the motion on notice seeking the interlocutory injunction to stop the strike.

Labour reaction:

  • ULC president, Joe Ajaero: ”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.”
  • NLC president, Ayuba Wabba: “Members should commence preparation to ensure the strike is effective. Members should be should be steadfast and dedicated to achieve their objective as workers would never receive improved welfare except through struggle.”

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