The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef O. Fagbemi, has declared the proposed strike action by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) as illegal and premature. The statement came following the unions’ announcement on May 31, 2024, declaring an indefinite nationwide strike action starting June 3, 2024.

Key Points from the Attorney-General’s Letter:

  1. Premature Strike Declaration: The Attorney-General highlighted that the strike was declared at a time when the Federal Government and other stakeholders were still negotiating the determination of a new national minimum wage. He emphasized that no new minimum wage had been declared yet, making the strike action premature.
  2. Non-Compliance with Legal Requirements: Fagbemi referenced Sections 41(1) and 42(1) of the Trade Disputes Act 2004 (as amended), which require a mandatory 15-day notice before any strike action. The current strike notice provided by the unions did not meet this legal requirement, rendering the proposed action ineffective and illegal.
  3. International Labour Organization (ILO) Principles: The letter also drew attention to the ILO’s principles on the right to strike, which include prior notice and attempts at conciliation, mediation, and arbitration before any industrial action. The Attorney-General stated that these conditions were not met by the unions.
  4. Court Orders and Ongoing Negotiations: The Attorney-General reminded the unions of an existing interim injunctive order from the National Industrial Court (SUIT NO: NICN/ABJ/158/2023), which restrains the NLC and TUC from embarking on any strike. The order remains binding and has neither been stayed nor set aside.
  5. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): Following the removal of fuel subsidies, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on October 2, 2023, between the government and the labour unions to mitigate adverse effects. The MOU includes provisions for wage adjustments, setting up a minimum wage committee, and other incentives. The unions had committed to adhere to social dialogue in all future engagements.
  6. Call for Dialogue and Negotiation: The government reiterated its commitment to resolving issues through dialogue and urged the unions to reconsider their strike action. The Attorney-General emphasized that a continued negotiation meeting has been adjourned to a date to be communicated to all parties involved.

Government’s Appeal:

The Attorney-General urged the unions to adopt a more conciliatory and patriotic approach by returning to negotiation tables. He warned that proceeding with the strike would result in avoidable hardships for Nigerians and contravene existing legal frameworks.

The federal Government through the Minister for Information had early declared the demands of Labour as unsustainable.

This development marks a significant moment in Nigeria’s industrial relations, as the government seeks to balance workers’ welfare with national economic stability.


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