Why NLC, TUC proposed strike is premature, illegal—FG


The Federal Government has said that the nationwide strike called by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, over disagreement on the new minimum wage is premature and illegal.

Barring any last minute change of mind, the strike is scheduled to commence from Sunday midnight.

The government which said the strike is premature is urging the organized labour to reconsider its declaration of strike and return to the negotiation table for further action.

In a letter by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, dated June 1, 2024, a copy which was seen by our correspondent, the minister explained that the organized labour also failed to issue a mandatory notice of strike 15 days ahead of the proposed strike action.

The letter reads; “I wish to note that this latest declaration of strike action by organized labour is premature at a time when the Federal Government and other stakeholders involved in the Tripartite Committee on determination of a new national minimum wage had not declared an end to negotiation.

“You are aware that the Federal and State Governments are not the only employers to be bound by a new national minimum wage, hence it is vital to balance the interest and capacity of all employers of labour in the country (inclusive of Organised Private Sector) in order to determine a minimum wage for the generality of the working population.

“I would like to draw your attention to Section 41(1) and 42(1) of the Trade Disputes Act 2004 (as amended) which require both NLC and TUC, to issue mandatory strike notices of a minimum of 15 days,” the letter reads.

The minister also argued that the proposed strike was at variance with the order of the National Industrial Court and the ongoing mediatory settlement efforts over issues connected with the subject matter of the order.

The minister said a return to the negotiation table “would be a more civil and patriotic approach and will enable your Congress pursue its cause within the ambit of the law and avoid foisting avoidable hardships on the generality of Nigerians, which this proposed industrial action is bound to cause.”

BAR & BENCH WATCH reports that the leadership of organised labour at the end of a joint emergency meeting on Friday in Abuja had declared an indefinite nationwide strike from Monday.

Labour had during the May Day celebration issued the federal government an ultimatum to ensure that negotiation on new national minimum wage was concluded by May 31.

The president of TUC, Festus Osifo, told newsmen that the strike had become necessary as the government declined to increase the N60,000 wage it offered on Friday during the meeting of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage.

Osifo also said that the strike was imperative due to the refusal of government to reverse the hike in electricity tariff.

“We are hereby declaring the commencement of a nationwide industrial action, effective from Sunday midnight June 2 , 2024, and this strike shall be indefinite,” he said.

“We are united on this and we believe that this is the way forward,” he added.

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