News Investigators/ The Federal Government has urged labour unions to shelve their proposed strike, warning that any industrial action against subsidy removal would be a violation of the subsisting court orders.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) had jointly agreed to proceed on indefinite strike on October 3 over what they described as government’s non compliance to agreements reach on palliatives for workers to cushion the economic hardship occassioned by fuel subsidy removal.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, in a letter addressed to Falana’s law firm, counsel to the labour unions, drew attention to a subsisting court order that restrained labour from its planned indefinite strike action.
The letter was copied to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chief Of Staff to the President, the National Security Adviser, the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General, State Security Services.
It would be recalled that the National Industrial Court had on June 5 restrained NLC and the TUC, from embarking on any industrial action over the removal of fuel subsidy.
The minister told the unions to respect the order of the court and allow room for ongoing negotiations between them and the Federal Government.
“These are undoubtedly issues that have been submitted to the National Industrial Court for adjudication,” Mr. Fagbemi stated.
“Therefore, the proposed strike action is in clear violation of the pending interim injunctive order granted on June 5 restraining both NLC and TUC from embarking on any industrial action/or strike of any nature, pending the hearing and determination of the pending motion on notice,” he noted.
The Attorney General wrote: “We wish to reiterate that a court order, regardless of the opinion of any party on it, remains binding and enforceable until set aside”.
“It is, therefore, the earnest expectation of this office that your distinguished law firm will advise the labour unions on the need to protect the integrity of courts and observe the sanctity of court orders.
“Consequently, you are kindly requested to impress upon the organized labour unions to note the fact that their proposed strike action is in gross breach of the subsisting court order, as well as the appropriateness of addressing their grievances/demands within the ambit of the law.
“Hence, the need for them to be more accommodating and show greater appreciation of the effect of the order of the court, by shelving the strike action.
“The foregoing will afford parties more room for further mutual engagements, for a holistic and sustainable resolution of all outstanding issues on this matter in the overall national interest,” he added.