By Victor Ahiuma-Young& Ikechukwu Nnochiri
Leaders of Organised Labour yesterday in Lagos, urged Nigerians to stockpile foodstuff ahead of the commencement of a nationwide strike on November 6.
They warned that the nation would be shutdown on Tuesday unless the Federal Government met their demand.
These came as the Federal Government secured an ex-parte order stopping labour from embarking on the nationwide strike.
Unfazed about the development, the Organised Labour noted that only the implementation of N30,000 minimum wage agreement would stop the planned industrial action.
This came as they declared that they were not aware of any restraining order from a court, adding that no court process was given to them.
At a briefing after a joint Central Working Committee, CWC, meeting of leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, and United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, Organised Labour said all known international standards had been complied with, saying the government had up to 11 pm on Monday to stop the planned strike.
Reading the communique issued at the meeting on behalf of the three Labour centres, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the Organised Labour was aware of an alleged plan to clamp down its leaders.
While pleading with Organised Private Sector, OPS, not to compromise the agreement reached by the Tripartite Committee, Wabba recalled the processes that led to the N30,000 agreement.
He said: “We urge Nigerians to stockpile foodstuff and other necessities because there will be total shutdown of the country from November 6. But if our demand is met before November 6, we will not go on strike. But if it is not met, definitely, the strike will go on as planned.
“Our demand is that the constitutional, legal and morally right step to take at this point is for the Chairman of the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiating Committee to submit the report of the already concluded National Minimum Wage negotiations to Mr. President for transmission to the National Assembly for consideration and passage into law.”
Reacting to a restraining injunction from the Abuja Division of the National Industrial Court, NIC, both Presidents of ULC and TUC, Joe Ajaero and Bobboi Kaigama, declared that Organised Labour was not aware of any restraining order.
Ajaero said: “We are not aware of any injunction from the court. We have no response to what we are not aware of. We cannot speak or respond to speculations. Our leaders of the centres have met and resolved that the only thing that can stop the planned strike from November 6, is for government to respect and accept the N30, 000 agreement.’’
However, Justice Kado of the NIC sitting in Abuja, specifically barred the NLC, the TUC and the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Governors Forum, who were listed as 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants in the matter, respectively, from taking steps capable of destroying the ‘Res’ (subject matter) of the case before him.
He directed that the order stopping the planned strike should be served on both the NLC and TUC immediately.
According to Justice Kado, “It is in the overall interest of justice and stability of the society to grant the order of interim injunction against the 1st and 2nd defendants (NLC and TUC), their members, privies, agents, proxies, workmen, or servants from embarking on or taking part in the planned strike or industrial action scheduled to commence on November 6, 2018, in whatever form pending the hearing or determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction which is pending before the court.
“It is also necessary to grant an order of interim injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants (NLC and TUC), their members, privies, agents, proxies, employees, workmen, or servants from engaging or taking part in any conduct or act in contemplation or furtherance of the strike or industrial action pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction. The ruling followed a motion the Federal Government filed through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN. The motion, which was attached to the suit marked NICN/ABJ/287/2018, was moved in court by the Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr. Dayo Apata.