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NLC, TUC ask court to vacate order on fuel subsidy strike



The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Friday asked the National Industrial Court to vacate the order restraining them from embarking on a nationwide strike over the removal of fuel subsidy.

Justice Olufunke Anuwe had last Monday stopped the unions from going ahead with the strike slated to begin on Wednesday pending the hearing and determination of a motion filed by the Federal Government.

She said the planned strike was capable of disrupting activities in critical sectors of the nation’s economy.

The NLC had on June 2 asked the federal government to revert to the old petrol pump price or risk a nationwide strike.

This followed the return of long queues at filling stations and a hike in product prices following the removal of fuel subsidy by the government.

The government quickly fought back and approached the court to restrain the unions from calling out workers for industrial action.

In a motion filed on their behalf by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, NLC and TUC said the court lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine the federal government’s case.

READ ALSO: NLC suspends planned fuel subsidy strike

They stressed that the ex parte motion was filed in violation of Section 17 (2) of the Trade Disputes Act.

The motion read: “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 court document reads.

“The claimants/applicants’ suit offends the lucid provisions of Order 3 rules 1 and 6 of the national industrial court civil procedure rules, 2017.

“The defendants/applicants and their members have a right to strike under the trade unions act, the trade disputes act, the ILO convention and under several international treaties, which the 1st claimant/applicant is a signatory to.

“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 government considered inimical to their interests as reiterated in the cases of IGP VS ANPP (2008) 12 WRN 65, MUSA VS INEC.

“The claimants/applicants’ suit does not disclose a reasonable cause of action against the defendants/applicants.

“The plaintiff’s suit is lacking in bona fide, as it was filed to harass, irritate and embarrass the defendants/applicants, which constitutes an abuse of the judicial process.”

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