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Court restrains NLC, TUC from embarking on planned strike


Abuja – The National Industrial Court (NIC) on Tuesday in Abuja restrained the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their affiliates from embarking on their planned nationwide strike.
The judge, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, held that he was satisfied with the arguments canvassed by the Federal Government.
Adejumo said that the NLC, TUC, their agents, employees or servants where hereby restrained from carrying out the threat to shutdown the country in a nationwide strike.
He also ordered that status quo as at May 17 be maintained pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the Federal Government.
The court, however, advised the Federal Government to engage the labour unions with the aim to reach a conclusive agreement, noting that “when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers’’.
Adejumo gave seven days within which hearing of the motion on notice would elapse, and adjourned the case till May 24.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that organised labour had threatened to embark on strike if the Federal Government did not revert to N86 and N86.50 the pump price of petrol.
The Federal Government, however, approached the court on Tuesday with a motion ex-parte seeking the court to restrain NLC and TUC from embarking on the strike.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, representing the Federal Government, prayed the court to restrain the unions pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
Malami, the Minister of Justice, argued that if the strike was allowed to commence the damage on the nation would be unquantifiable.
“The Federal, state and local governments would lose revenue worth billions of naira thereby causing untold hardship and unimaginable security problems across the country,’’ Malami said.
The minster noted that shutting down the entire nation as threatened by labour would cause a lot of apprehension in the citizens.
He further argued that the major apprehension was not in the strike itself, but in the threat for a complete shutdown of the economy as contained in NLC’s communiqué.
“The last part of the communiqué says that in the event that government fails to accede to their demand by 12 midnight on Tuesday May 17, the NLC, TUC and its affiliates will mobilise all Nigerians to strike, shut down all banks, sea and airports and commence a nationwide strike,’’ Malami told the court.
He also said that the Federal Government was not notified by labour of its impending strike which was part of why government was questioning the legality of its planned action.
While noting the need to urgently grant the Federal Government’s application, Malami referred the court to a Supreme Court ruling which stated that national interest must be considered above group interest. (NAN)

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