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    Industrial Court Stops NLC, TUC From Embarking On Strike

    Fuel subsidy protest in 2012
    The National Industrial Court has restrained the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress from going ahead with their planned strike to protest the hike in price of petrol.

    The court gave the order on Tuesday while ruling on an ex-parte motion brought by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

    The order will last for seven days though it is subject to renewal.
    The organized labour had threatened to begin a nationwide strike in protest against the federal government decision to increase the pump price of petrol from N86.50k to N145.
    But Mr. Malami, while moving the ex-parte application, told the court that the strike was not in the national interest if NLC was allowed to shut down the country.
    He cited Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution as amended to justify his application.

    The AGF argued that ‎no amount of damages could serve as compensation if NLC was allowed to shut down the economy and that the balance of convenient was in favour of the government.
    Mr. Malami recounted that the organized labour met last Saturday and issued a communique giving the federal government a three-day ultimatum to reverse the decision increasing fuel price.

    According to him, the ordinary and law abiding citizens would be subjected to hardship if the unions were allowed to go ahead with the industrial action and that government was left with no alternative but to seek the intervention of the court.
    The AGF further explained that he got notice of the communique on Sunday, a day after the meeting and quickly filed an originating summons, together with motion on notice and an exparte application to determine whether NLC’s decision was justified in the circumstance.

    He asked the NIC to determine, “Whether the respondents (NLC, Trade Union Congress) have complied with the laid down condition precedent for embarking on strike‎,” and “Whether indeed there exist in law and in fact the basis of which the respondents’ total closure of the economy can be justified.”
    Giving the ruling, the judge, Babatunde Adejumo, asked the labour unions not to embark on the strike pending the hearing and determination of the ‎motion.
    “The defendants are hereby restrained from carrying out the threat contained in their communique issued on May 14, 2016 pending the hearing and determination of the ‎motion on notice filed on May 16,” he said.

    “It is the order of this court that status quo be maintained as at May 17‎.
    “It is the order of this court that none of the parties shall engage in any act, conduct, overtly, covertly on this matter pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
    Mr. Adejumo also ordered that the unions should be served with the processes in the case within 24 hours.
    He however transferred the hearing of the substantive suit to a different judge of the NIC, saying that he would be busy at the National Judicial Council when it would be heard.
    Stating that he would have liked government and the labour unions to resolve the matter amicably, Mr. Adejumo noted that he was compelled to issue the restraining order because the unions were not yet before him.

    He explained that he gave the order to stop the strike because he did not want Nigerians to face hardship as a result of the strike.
    ”I decided to take this case this morning because it is on an issue that will affect everybody,” he said.
    “I don’t want people to be subjected to hardship. There will be scarcity of foods, people may die, students will engage in all sorts of activities. This is why I have to grant this order.”

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