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Court summons: NLC threatens to embark on nationwide strike

Why the NLC’s tactics hurt more than they help – Part 2

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said it would embark on a nationwide strike from August 14, if the initiator does not withdraw the contemptuous Court summons.

Joe Ajaero, NLC president, said this in a communique jointly signed with Mr Emmanuel Ugboaja, General Secretary of NLC, on Thursday in Abuja.

The communique was issued at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the NLC.

It would be recalled that organised labour had embarked on a nationwide mass protest over the anti-poor policies of the government, especially the removal of subsidies that had brought untold hardship to Nigerians.

NAN reports that the Federal Ministry of Justice had, through the National Industrial Court (NICN), issued the leadership of organised labour summons on contempt of Court for embarking on Protest.

Ajaero said that NEC observed the Ministry of Justice, through the NICN, had continued to allow itself to be used as a vehicle to truncate the dominance of the tenets of democracy and muzzle/silence the voices of Nigerian workers.

Read also NLC, TUC direct members to besiege court as FG files contempt suit

”NEC-in-session resolved to go on total strike across the country any day labour leaders are summoned court by the government through the NICN.

“To demand the immediate withdrawal of this litigious terrorism by the Federal Ministry of Justice before the end of work FridayAug. 11ug.

“To embark on a nationwide comprehensive strike beginning. 1414 if this contemptuous Court summons is not withdrawn by whosoever initiated it,” he said.

The NLC president also said that NEC, in the session, was committed to maintaining the required vigilance to hold the government accountable for its assurances and governance in general.

Ajaero added that NEC was committed to the terminal date of Aug.19th, within which the issues around the Petroleum price hike will be agreed upon given the assurances of the President and the National Assembly.

He said that in session, NEC commended the national leadership and all the state officers for effectively coordinating the protest.

He, therefore, urged all affiliates and State Councils, including Civil society allies, to stay further action but to remain focused and eternally vigilant.

NAN reports that the government, through the justice ministry, had sternly warned in a statemJul. 2626 July that the planned strike by the union would be a conteCourtf court, an offence punishable by jailing.

The Ministry re-stated on Monday that the order issued by the National Industrial Court in AbJun. 5 5 June had stopped not just strikes but also any form of industrial action organised to oppose the removal of fuel subsidy.

Following Wednesday’s protest by the labour unions, the justice ministry approached the induCourtl court to commence a contempt suit against the labour leaders.

The Ministry filed a notice of consequences of disobedience to court, also called Form 48, the first of the two stages of a contempt suit.

Read also NLC meets Tinubu, says fresh commitments extracted from FG

The notice was addressed to the NLC President, Deputy Presidents – Audu Aruba, Adeyanju Adewale, and Kabiru Sani; General Secretary Emmanuel Ugboaja; TUC President Festus Usifo; and Scribe/Chief Executive Nuhu Toro.

“Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in the order of the National Industrial Court, Abuja, delivered by Honourable Justice Y. AnJun. 5 5 June 2023, as per the attached enrolled order, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison,” the contempt notice signed by Senior Registrar, Balogun Olajide, read.

NAN reports that Justice Olufunke Anuwe of the NIJun. 5 June 5 restrained the NLC and TUC from embarking on the planned strike action, which they had planned to begin. 7 7 June.

“The respondents are now restrained from embarking on any strike action of any nature pending the determination of the motion on notice June. 5 5 June,” the judge had ordered.

The unions later shelved the planned strike to continue negotiations with the government.

But the talks have not yielded any positive results as union leaders continue to push for a reversal of the decision.