Presidency: Labour blackmailing FG with planned strike — it’s illegal
The presidency has described the insistence of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) to proceed with the proposed nationwide strike as an “abuse of privilege”.
The labour unions had announced the planned nationwide strike to protest the alleged brutality of Joe Ajaero, president of the NLC in Imo state.
The strike is scheduled to commence at midnight on November 14.
However, on November 5, the national industrial court in Owerri, capital of Imo, issued a restraining order to labour unions from embarking on strike in the state.
The federal government also secured an order stopping the unions and their affiliates from embarking on the strike.
But on Monday, Festus Osifo, TUC president, said the labour unions would continue with the planned industrial action despite the court order.
He added that the strike would remain until “government at all levels wake up to their responsibilities”.
Reacting to the labour unions’ unyielding position, Bayo Onanuga, presidential aide, described the decision as “an ego-tripping move” and “clearly unwarranted”.
He accused the unions of trying to “blackmail the government” and “punish a whole country of over 200 million people over a personal matter”.
Onanuga added that the planned strike is a “flagrant disobedience to court order and lack of respect for the judiciary”.
“We notice with dismay the decision by the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress to call out workers to commence a strike from midnight, despite a restraining order issued last week by Justice Benedict Backwash Kanyip of the National Industrial Court,” the statement reads.
“This decision by the NLC and TUC, other than being an ego-tripping move, is clearly unwarranted. It is an attempt to blackmail the government by the leadership of the NLC.
“We are still at a loss as to why the NLC and TUC decided to punish a whole country of over 200million people over a personal matter involving the NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero, whose error of judgment led to assault on him in Owerri while he was planning to incite the workers in Imo State into a needless strike.
“Calling out workers on a national strike over a personal issue of a labour leader despite a clear court order against any industrial action amounts to an abuse of privilege.
“Power at any level should never be used to settle personal scores. Rather, it should be used to promote collective progress and advance national interest.
“This flagrant disobedience to court order and lack of respect for the judiciary should not be what the organised Labour would champion.
“The labour movement has always been a champion of rule of law and respect for the judiciary. It is a sad irony that the current labour leaders have shown disdain and utter disregard for court order.
“We reiterate that this strike action is illegal, immoral, unjustifiable and irresponsible. What the strike notice issued Monday night after official hours suggests is it’s designed for a sinister and hidden agenda to cause undue hardship and cause civil disturbance in our country. This is unacceptable.”