November 10, 2023

Court stops NLC, TUC from embarking on strike Nov 14


By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

The National Industrial Court, NIC, sitting in Abuja, on Friday, restrained the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, from going ahead with their plan to embark on a nationwide strike action on November 14.

The court made the order following an ex-parte application the Federal Government filed through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN.

In the ruling that was delivered by its President, Justice Benedict Kanyip, the court, anchored its order on the provision of sections 17 and 19 of its Act, saying it was within its powers to intervene in the dispute between the labour unions and FG.

Cited as Defendants in the matter are both the NLC and the TUC.

Justice Kanyip directed that the restraining order should be pasted on the wall of the Labour House, which is the last known address of the two Defendants, to draw their attention to the ruling.

More so, the judge held that the restraining order, alongside the Originating Summons and other relevant processes in the matter, should be served on the Defendants through publication in two major national dailies.

The case was, thereafter, transferred to Justice Olufunke Anuwe, who was said to be handling a similar labour dispute between the same parties.

The NIC President added that Justice Anuwe would issue a hearing notice to the parties at the appropriate time.

It will be recalled that the two labour unions had threatened to commence strike action on November 14 to protest the attack and manhandling of its President, Comrade Joe Ajero in Imo state by alleged state-sponsored thugs and security agents.

The unions, which had on Thursday, blocked the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja to register their grievance over the incident, had since downed tools in Imo state.

In a bid to avert the nationwide industrial action, FG, through its lawyer, Mr Tijani Gazali, SAN, approached the court with the exparte motion.

It, among other things, contended that the planned strike would inflict untold hardship on innocent law-abiding citizens and their businesses as well as occasion huge economic loss for the nation.

Gazali, SAN, pleaded that unless the court intervened, there may be a likelihood of a breach of peace and tranquillity in the country.

After he had listened to the government lawyer, Justice Kanyip said he was minded to grant the application.