The Federal Government has told the Nigeria Labour Congress that it is legally restrained from embarking on planned nationwide strike against the hike in the price of petrol and the high cost of living in the country.
It was reported on Wednesday that the NLC had given the government a seven-day ultimatum to reverse all what it called anti-poor and insensitive policies or face a nationwide industrial action.
However, reacting to the ultimatum, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, B.E Jedy-Agba, in a statement on Wednesday, said the union was restrained by the order of the national industrial court from embarking on any strike regarding the removal of petrol subsidy.
She said the court had on June 5 granted an injunctive order restraining the NLC 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”.
Jedy-Agba advised the union to explore other means of negotiations with the Federal Government rather than “resorting to self-help and undermining the orders of the court”.
The statement added, “It is noted that the issues (removal of fuel subsidy, hike in prices of petrol and consequential increase in the 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 the NLC will allow the courts to 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.
“Aside from 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 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.”
Credit: Punch online