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Fuel Subsidy Removal: Why Nigerian court restrains Organised Labour from strike –Official

*The National Industrial Court Monday, June 5, in Abuja, explained why it issued an order restraining the Organised Labour from embarking on a strike in the interest of ‘the larger society, and indeed, the well-being’ of Nigerians

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of the workers’ earlier plan to embark on a nationwide industrial action effective from Wednesday, June 7, 2023, the National Industrial Court (NOC) Monday, June 5, in Abuja, issued an order restraining the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) from embarking on any form of strike for now.

ConsumerConnect reports the Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) are applicant in the matter.

The move was sequel to the inability of the parties in the industrial dispute to reach an amicable solution over fuel subsidy removal.

Discussions between the Organised Labour and the Federal Government had not been successful and the Labour had resolved to embark on a nationwide strike beginning Wednesday.

The Court, however, explained that the Organised Labour could not embark on  a strike effective Wednesday, June 7 because of the ongoing 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Justice O.Y. Anuwe, in his ruling on an exparte application filed before the court, restrained the defendants (TUC and NLC) from embarking on the planned nationwide strike Wednesday, pending the hearing and determination of the motion of notice dated June 5 this year.

Justice Anuwe further ordered that the defendants be immediately served with the originating processes, the motion on notice and the order of the court in this regard.

The Court document as well stated: “The urgency enumerated in the affidavit of urgency and in counsel’s submission reveals a scenario that may gravely affect the larger society, and indeed, the well-being of the nation at large.

“Counsel has pointed that students of Secondary Schools nationwide, especially those writing WAEC exams will be affected; the tertiary institutions who have only just resumed after a long ASUU strike will also be affected, not leaving the health sector, amongst other sectors; and above all, the economy of the nation.”

The Judge said: “In my view, this situation of extreme urgency that will require the intervention of this court.”

According to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) timetable, this year’s WASSCE started May 8 would end June 23.

Discussions continue on TUC’s demands, Minimum Wage, others -Presidential Spokesperson

Meanwhile, Mr. Dele Alake, Spokesperson for the Federal Government, has disclosed to the State House Correspondents, in Abuja, that the current administration would examine and determine the “practicability” of TUC’s list of demands.

Alake also said the government would set up a tripartite Committed to look into the demands of the Organised Labour, especially the burning issue of the National Minimum Wage in view of the current socio-economic realities in Nigeria.

It is recalled that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his inaugural speech Monday, May 29, at the Eagle Square, in Abuja, had announced that “subsidy is gone” on the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol in the Nigerian economy.

President Tinubu restated in his address, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration did not make provisions for petrol subsidy in the 2023 Budget beyond June this year.

It was learnt though several Nigerians had expected that the new fuel price regime would come into effect by July 1, many others might not have expected its implementation almost immediately after the presidential pronouncement.

However, ours after Tinubu’s presidential declaration Monday, queues resurfaced at filling stations across the major cities, including Lagos, Abuja and  Port Harcourt.

Still reports have indicated that some petroleum products retail outlets have hoard the product and increased prices to as high as over N700 in some locations across the West African country.

Fuel queues, increases in transportation fares and cost of living

Already, a litre of petrol is being sold at over N500 across the country, following the recent product price adjustment by the NNPC Limited and the presidential pronouncement on subsidy removal.

Fuel queues have since surged for the vital commodity, compounding the traffic situation, especially in Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, and several other parts of the country.

Likewise as transportation fares have increased with over 100 percent increment in many states.

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