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Subsidy: NLC, TUC appeal Court order stopping strike

The Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress has asked the National Industrial Court, Abuja, to set aside its interim order that barred the unions from embarking on their planned strike in protest of the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government.

The two unions who filed a motion through their lawyer, Femi Falana, maintained that the suit FG brought against them, was offensive to provisions of Section 254C (1) (f) of the 1999 Constitution and section 7(6) of the NIC Act 2006, “and thus, the ex-parte order liable to be set aside.”

Both the NLC and the TUC argued that the court lacked the jurisdictional competence to hear and determine the case “as it was filed in violation of Section 17 {2} of the Trade Disputes Act, which authorizes the Minister of Labour and Employment to refer a trade dispute directly to the National Industrial Court.”

“This court as presently constituted lacks the jurisdictional competence to hear and determine the matter and or make any orders as regards the trade Dispute {subject matter of this suit} for failure to first refer the trade dispute to the Industrial Arbitration Panel as mandated by part 1 of TDA.

“The claimants suit offends the lucid provisions of Order 3 Rules 1 and 6 of the National Industrial Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2017.

The union further contended for their rights to strike “under the Trade Unions Act, the Trade Disputes Act, the ILO Convention and under several international treaties the 1st Claimant/Applicant is a signatory to.”

More so, the NLC and the TUC insisted that by virtue of Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, Nigerian workers have the fundamental right to protest against policies of the government considered inimical to their interests.

Furthermore, they argued that the suit by FG did not disclose a reasonable cause of action against them.

“The Plaintiffs suit is lacking in bona fide, as it was filed to harass, irritate and embarrass the Defendants/Applicants, which constitutes an abuse of judicial process.

“The Claimants/Applicants suppressed material facts before this Honourable Court thereby misleading the Court to grant the exparte reliefs sought and obtained.

“In the circumstances and under established judicial authorities as well as extant Rules of this Honourable Court, the Claimants suit as presently constituted against the Defendant is liable to be dismissed or struck out for want of jurisdiction and the ex parte order set aside,” the two unions added.

Consequently, they applied for an order, “setting aside, discharging and/or vacating the ex parte interim order of injunction restraining the defendants…or affiliates from embarking on the planned industrial action of any nature pending the hearing and determination of the claimants’ motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction made on the 5th June 2023.”

It could be recalled that the court issued an interim order retraining both bodies from embarking on their planned strike over the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.

The court held that the interim order, as well as substantive suit, should be immediately served on both groups, which were cited as Defendants/Respondents in the suit, even as it adjourned further proceedings in the matter till June 19.

 

 

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TV360 Nigeria

Nigeria's first exclusive online television news channel. We strongly uphold journalistic principles of TRUTH, BALANCE & FAIRNESS in our reportage & we believe there is no one side to a story.

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