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Labour Issues Premature,Illegal Strike Notice on June 3 – AGF

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Labour Issues Premature,Illegal Strike Notice on June 3 – AGF

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The Organised Labour notice of industrial action dated June 3, 2024, has drawn criticism from Lateef Fagbemi, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice.

The AGF referred to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) strike notice as “premature, imeffectual and illegal” in a letter dated June 1, 2024.

The letter was addressed by the AGF to Festus Osifo of the TUC and Joe Ajaero of the NLC.

The labour unions had complained that the current minimum wage of ₦30,000 could no longer support the welfare of the typical Nigerian worker and that not all governors were paying the current wage award, which expired in April 2024, five years after former President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Minimum Wage Act of 2019. To stay up with the modern economic needs of workers, the Act should be reviewed every five years.

Later, Labour set the Federal Government a deadline of May 31 to implement a new minimum wage. Over the government committee’s inability to agree on a new minimum wage and the reversal of the power tariff hike, the workers’ organs throughout the nation announced on May 31 a statewide strike starting on Monday, June 3, 2024.

Labour turned down three government proposals during the fruitless negotiations; the most recent one was for N60,000. Subsequently, the TUC and the NLC withdrew from talks and demanded that the new minimum wage be ₦497,000.

Labour should go back to the negotiating table, the AGF advised, arguing that conversation was a more progressive course of action than strike action.

Sections 41(1) and 42(1) of the Trade Disputes Act 2004 (As amended) obliged the NLC and the TUC to provide strike notices that had to be at least 15 days in length, Fagbemi reminded the enraged unions.

The AGF also brought up an interrim injunction order that prevented the TUC and the NLC from taking any industrial action, which was issued by an Abuja court on June 5, 2023. He remarked, “The labour unions continue to be bound by this order as it has not been stayed or set aside.”

The call to industrial action is therefore illegal, premature, and ineffectual. Furthermore at odds with the National Industrial Court order and the continuing mediation settlement efforts over the matters covered by the order is the planned strike action.

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