Reasons Untimely Labour’s Proposed Strike is Illegal___Federal Govt


Reasons Untimely Labour’s Proposed Strike is Illegal___Federal Govt


The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), has condemned the call for industrial action by organized labour, stating it is premature, ineffective, and against the law.


Fagbemi emphasized that the planned strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) is contrary to the directives of the National Industrial Court and ongoing mediation efforts regarding the issues at hand.


Responding to the announcement made by the NLC and TUC on May 31, 2024, declaring an indefinite nationwide strike starting from June 3, 2024, Fagbemi, in a letter titled “Re: Proposed strike action by Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC),” dated June 1, 2024, addressed to the National President of the trade unions, highlighted that the strike declaration comes at a time when negotiations on a new national minimum wage are ongoing, and no conclusion has been reached by the Federal Government and other stakeholders involved.


Fagbemi pointed out that determining a new national minimum wage involves not only the federal and state governments but also other employers, including the organized private sector. He stressed the importance of considering the interests and capacities of all employers in setting a minimum wage that benefits the working population as a whole.


The Justice Minister reminded organized labour of the legal requirement to issue a minimum of 15 days’ notice before engaging in a strike, as stipulated in Sections 41(1) and 42(1) of the Trade Disputes Act 2004 (as amended). He noted that neither the NLC nor the TUC had declared a trade dispute with their employers or issued any legally mandated strike notices.


Fagbemi also raised concerns about the legality of the proposed strike action, highlighting the failure of both NLC and TUC to comply with the statutory dispute resolution procedures outlined in the Trade Disputes Act 2004 (as amended).


Furthermore, he referenced the principles of the International Labour Organization (ILO) regarding the right to strike, which emphasize the importance of prior notice, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration in industrial disputes.


Regarding the alleged ultimatum issued by Labour for the conclusion of negotiations before May 31, 2024, Fagbemi argued that it did not meet the formal requirements for a strike notice.


He reminded organized labour of the interim injunctive order issued on June 5, 2023, which restrained both the NLC and TUC from undertaking any industrial action or strike, emphasizing that the order remains binding.


Fagbemi recalled the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the government and labour on October 2, 2023, following the removal of fuel subsidy, which committed both parties to resolving issues through social dialogue.


While reaffirming the government’s commitment to constructive dialogue, Fagbemi urged labour leaders to reconsider the strike action and return to negotiation meetings.


He emphasized that pursuing their cause within the bounds of the law would be more beneficial and urged them to avoid inflicting unnecessary hardship on Nigerians.


The letter was copied to several government officials, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff to the President, Minister of Labour and Employment, National Security Adviser, Inspector General of Police, and Director General of the

State Security Services.


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