The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed its disgust and disapproval of the National Industrial Court over its judgment restraining organized labour from embarking on strike over the removal of petrol subsidy by the Federal Government.
The NLC accused the court of encouraging the use of exparte injunction in favour of the government against the interests of Nigerian workers contrary to the position of the Supreme Court.
This was made known in a communiqué issued by the NLC, signed by its President and General Secretary, Joe Ajaero and Emmanuel Ugboaja respectively, after an emergency meeting by its National Executive Council (NEC) on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.
The NEC as part of its resolutions said it supports and accepts the decision of the leadership of Congress to suspend the proposed strike action in compliance with the flawed rulings of the court.
It argued that putting off the strike would allow negotiations to flow freely and enable final agreement during or after the June 19 negotiation with the Federal Government.
Resolutions after the emergency NLC NEC meeting
The communiqué by the NLC at the end of its emergency NEC meeting reads, ‘’An emergency National Executive Council (NEC) of the Congress which was called to discuss the outcome of the Dialogue between the NLC and the Federal Government on the Petroleum Products Price hike after extensive deliberation observed that:
1. Whereas the previous NEC-in-Session had ordered a nationwide withdrawal of Service and mass protest over the Petroleum Price hike by the federal government;
2. Whereas the federal government was in breach of the 2023 Appropriation Act, the NLC will not encourage lawlessness on its part;
3. Taking into account that the federal government has procured a Court injunction restraining Congress from proceeding with the proposed nationwide strike as the NEC-in-session had ordered to begin, Wednesday, the 7th of June, 2023;
4. Recognizing the willingness of the government for continuous engagement through dialogue and to offer reasonable palliatives in due course to cushion the effect of its policies and some levels of understanding reached
5. Considering the mood of the Socio-polity last elections and the need to pursue national stability and;
Consequently, the NEC-in-session resolved as follows;
1. to commend and applaud the diligence of Congress’ leadership in carrying out the assignment given to it by NEC.
2. to demonstrate to the federal government the need to comply with the Laws of the land especially as it concerns obedience to the rulings of the Courts and their brazen disregard for the 2023 Appropriation Act
3. to therefore support and accept the decision of the leadership of Congress to suspend the proposed strike action in compliance with the flawed rulings of the NIC and also allow negotiations to flow freely and enable final agreement during or after the 19th June 2023 negotiation round with the federal government
4. to however register in strongest terms its disgust and disapproval with the ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC) for its continuous weaponization of the instrument of Exparte injunction in favour of the Government against the interests of Nigerian workers in defiance of the position of the Supreme Court on the use of this instrument.
5. All Affiliates and State Councils of Congress are hereby directed to suspend further action and mobilization until the outcome of the final negotiations.
6. To commend all Affiliates and State Councils on their robust mobilization towards a successful nationwide strike action and to also remain vigilant in case there is a need to continue.
What you should know
The NLC and TUC had planned to commence a strike action and protest on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, following President Bola Tinubu’s removal of the Petrol subsidy after he declared during his May 29, inaugural address that the fuel subsidy is gone.
This led to an instant hike in the pump price of the product by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited from N184 per litre to more than N500 per litre.
The strike was however suspended on the backdrop of the judgment of the Industrial Court which restrained them from going ahead with the strike as well as the outcome of the meeting between the leadership of the organized labour and representatives of the Federal Government.