Nigerian court cancels national strike slated for Wednesday as labour union meets with government officials in Presidential Villa
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have been restrained from embarking on strike action over the removal of petrol subsidy by the National Industrial Court Abuja division, Monday
The week old Bola Tinubu administration had asked the court for an interim injunction preventing the labour unions from proceeding on the strike scheduled to begin on Wednesday.
Delivering the ruling, Olufunke Anuwe, the presiding judge, said the unions should halt the planned strike pending the hearing and determination of the ex parte motion filed by the federal government.
On June 2, NLC issued a five-day ultimatum to the federal government to revert to the old price of petrol or face a nationwide strike.
Worker unions, including the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), and Nigeria Union of Journalists, have asked their members to join the planned strike.
Owing to the development, the federal government approached the court for an interim injunction.
The presiding judge said the federal government was able to show that the planned strike is capable of disrupting activities in the health and education sectors.
“The defendants/respondents are hereby restrained from embarking on the planned industrial action/or strike of any nature, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated 5th June 2023,” the judge said.
“It is ordered that the defendant/respondents be immediately served with the originating processes in this suit, the motion on notice and the order of this court hereby made.
“The motion on notice is hereby fixed for hearing for 19th June 2023. Hearing notices to that effect shall be served on the defendants/respondents along with the other processes.”
While hearing for the suit was fixed for 19th of June, the NLC met administration officials at the Presidential Villa.
Joe Ajaero, president of the NLC, and his team arrived at about 5:45pm on Monday.
The NLC was absent at the meeting between the government representatives and organised labour on Sunday.
Representatives of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) were however in attendance.
The labour unions are insisting that the new price template from the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) should be reverted to the old pump price before there will be any meaningful negotiation.
Federal government representatives at the last meeting included Dele Alake, spokesperson for the government’s delegation; group CEO of NNPCL Mele Kyari; governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele; and Adams Oshiomhole, former governor of Edo state.
George Akume, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF); Zacch Adedeji, executive secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC); and Yemi Adetunji, executive vice president, downstream, of the NNPCL, were also in attendance.
During his inauguration speech on May 29, President Tinubu declared that “petrol subsidy is gone”.
The president’s pronouncement immediately led to a resurfacing of queues at petrol stations and a hike in the pump price of the product across the country.
Akowe with reports from Abuja