The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said it would embark on a nationwide strike from Aug. 14, if the contemptuous Court summons are not withdrawn by the initiator.
Mr Joe Ajaero, NLC Pesident said this in 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 nation-wide mass protest over anti-poor policies of government,especially the removal of subsidy 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.
”NEC-in-session resolved to go on total strike across the country any day labour leaders are summoned to 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 Friday, the 11th of Aug.
“To embark on a nationwide comprehensive strike beginning Aug. 14 if this contemptuous Court summons are not withdrawn by whosoever initiated it,”he said.
The NLC president also said that NEC in session was committed to maintaining the required vigilance needed to hold government accountable on 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 given the assurances of the President and the National Assembly.
He however said that NEC in session commended the national leadership and all the state officers for the effective coordination of the Protest.
He therefore, urged all affiliates and State Councils including Civil society allies to stay further action but to remain focused and eternall vigilant.
NAN reports that the government, through the justice ministry, had sternly warned in a statement on 26 July that the planned strike by the union would be a contempt of court, an offence that is punishable by jailing.
The ministry re-stated on Monday that the order issued by the National Industrial Court in Abuja on 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 industrial court to commence a contempt suit against the labour leaders.
The ministry filed a notice of consequences of disobedience to order of court, also referred to as Form 48, the first of the two stages of a contempt suit.
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. Anuwe on 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 Judtice Olufunke Anuwe of the NICN, on June 5 restrained the NLC and TUC from embarking on the planned strike action, which they had planned to begin on 7 June.
“The respondents are hereby restrained from embarking on any strike action of any nature pending the determination of the motion on notice dated 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. (NAN)