President Bola Tinubu’s government has warned the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress against embarking on a nationwide strike.
The federal government called on the unions to shelve their proposed strike and refrain from actions capable of undermining the subsisting court orders.
The government stated this in a letter signed by the minister of justice, Lateef Fagbemi, and addressed to Femi Falana’s law firm, counsel to the labour unions.
The attorney copied the labour minister, the chief of staff to the president, the national security adviser, the inspector general of police and the SSS director-general in the letter.
The National Industrial Court had on June 5 restrained the NLC and the TUC from embarking on any industrial action over the removal of fuel subsidy.
The justice minister argued that the planned strike by the unions would violate the subsisting order of the court if they embark on the indefinite strike from October 3.
Mr Fagbemi told the unions to respect the court’s order 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. 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,” the letter explained.
It added, “We wish to reiterate that a court order, regardless of the opinion of any party on it, remains binding and enforceable until set aside.”
Mr Fagbemi noted that the public expects the unions to lead in obedience and observance of court orders, not in breach.
“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,” the federal government letter stressed.
It impressed the unions 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.”