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Why are Labour and Trade Union on strike?

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Through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, the Federal Government sought an ex-parte request to stop the National Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress from embarking on the ongoing nationwide strike.

The nationwide strike initiated by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) is a response to a series of events, primarily stemming from the alleged attack on NLC president Joe Ajaero in Imo State on 1st November 2023.

The situation escalated as the unions claimed that the state governor, Mr Uzodinma, mobilized thugs and police officers to assault and arrest Ajaero, hindering the planned protest in the state.

The strike decision was formalized after an extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja. The unions, in a communique, cited the lack of government response to their demands for justice regarding the brutalization of Ajaero and workers during the Imo State protest as a key factor behind the strike.

Despite a restraining order issued by Justice Benedict Backwash Kanyip of the National Industrial Court, the NLC and TUC proceeded with the nationwide industrial action, asserting unawareness of any subsisting court order restraining them.

 

The Presidency expressed concern over the strike, emphasizing the existing court order and urging the labour unions to reconsider their decision. However, the NLC, represented by TUC President Festus Osifo, clarified during a press conference that the strike was essential due to the government’s perceived lack of responsiveness to their demands.

 

The unions issued a five-day ultimatum over the arrest of NLC President Joe Ajaero, leading to the National Industrial Court restraining them from the planned strike. Despite legal constraints, the unions proceeded with the strike, emphasizing the need for justice and accountability in the alleged assault on their president and fellow workers.

 

What the Unions will make of the strike is yet to be seen. While there is compliance in some states, some are yet to see the effectiveness of the nationwide strike declared by the Union.

 

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