The Federal Government has insisted that the planned industrial action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is illegal.
Recall that Femi Falana, renowned human rights lawyer, said the NLC and its affiliates can proceed with the August 2 strike and protest as planned.
According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the exercise doesn’t translate to contempt of court.
His submission was revealed in a letter from the Falana Falana Chambers, solicitors to the NLC, by Sam Ogala, titled “Re- NLC in contempt of Court” and addressed to the Permanent Secretary/ Solicitor-General, Federal Ministry of Justice
He said the decision of Nigerian workers to participate in peaceful rallies is for the interest of the masses and to protest the worsening economic crisis in the country.
But the FG, in a letter addressed to Falana Chambers on Monday, the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Beatrice Jedy-Agba, restated that there is a subsisting interim order restraining NLC from embarking on any industrial action.
“We reiterate that the interim order clearly restrained NLC from embarking on industrial action of any nature. It is common knowledge that a strike is only a form of industrial action. NLC has expressed intention to embark on nationwide action to force the government (employer) to agree to its demands.
“Furthermore, the participation of workers in the protest will result in restriction, or limitation on, or a delay in the performance of work. The foregoing, inclusive of the purported peaceful protest (in view of its intended aims or purposes) undoubtedly amounts to industrial action. We assert that it is grossly inappropriate to lead the public protest in respect of issues relating to or connected with the fuel price increase, which is currently before the court!” the statement read in part.
The Solicitor-General also called on Falana to educate the NLC that peaceful protests are no justification for shutting down essential services.
“From the communique, it is apparent that the current move by NLC goes beyond peaceful protest by issuing a seven-day ultimatum for government to meet its demands and also embark on a nationwide action to compel the government to reverse alleged anti-worker policies.
“Furthermore, uncontroverted media reports have established that NLC is not planning a peaceful protest but intends to ground the government by endangering public peace, instilling fear in the masses, and precipitating a further crisis.
“It is incumbent on your law firm to sensitise the labour unions that peaceful protests are no justification for disrupting or shutting down essential services, which is tantamount to strike action. Based on the foregoing, you may wish to advise your clients accordingly,” Jedy-Agba added.
via: Information Nigeria