Leadership of Organized Labour in Edo State, Tuesday, declared that it will go ahead with a planned indefinite strike action on Wednesday, irrespective of the purported industrial court order, restraining them.
It described the court ruling as a black market injunction and urged its members, members of the Civil society Organizations and the coalition of the willing not to succumb to threats in some quarters.
State chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun disclose this while briefing the Media on Wednesday at the state Secretariat of the Nigeria union of Journalists in Benin City after meeting with members of the affiliate unions.
According to him, “that order was a black market injunction and we are not going to abide by it.
“The strike will commences tomorrow (Wednesday) today.
“As regard the Industrial court, we have never respected the order. The court restrained us from us – Labour from using the stadium. Oshiomhole was then the leader. We are going ahead to implement the strike and a directive has already been given from the national headquarters that the strike commence. There is no going back.
As part of measures to sustain the protest, he threatened to seal up defaulting petrol stations, banks.
“We are going to seal up petrol stations across the state and any petrol station that flouts that order, we will mobilise and dispense their fuel at N87 per litre.
“The fight now is not for us only the Comrades, but for the entire Nigerians”, he said.
It would be recalled that the National Industrial Court, Tuesday, had restrained the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) from going on its planned strike on Wednesday, pending the hearing and determination of a suit brought before it by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
The Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, had dragged the NLC to the Industrial Court, seeking an order of the court restraining the NLC from proceeding with the planned strike.
He had sought the order on the ground that the strike would paralyse the nation’s economy.
The AGF wants the court to decide whether the NLC complied with conditions precedent in law before threatening to embark on strike.
He told the Industrial Court that its refusal to grant the application would render the suit useless.
No counsel represented the Nigeria Labour Congress.
When asked by the presiding judge, how the AGF knew the NLC was planning to go on strike, Mr Malami said he saw a statement issued by the labour union on their website and that the statement had been published by the media.
The Court was presided over by the President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo.
Ruling on an exparte application filed by the AGF on behalf of the Federal Government, Justice Adejumo ordered parties to maintain the status quo until the hearing and determination of the exparte motion.
The order will elapse in 7 days.
Justice Adejumo directed the applicant to dialogue with the NLC towards an amicable resolution of their dispute.
The case was adjourned to May 24 for hearing of the motion on notice.
The Nigerian government is already holding talks with the labour union to address issues raised by the union after the government announced a new price band for petrol, raising it from 86.50 to 145 Naira per litre. The union is not comfortable with the 67.6 per cent increase in the price of petrol.
Both parties could not reach an agreement in an earlier meeting on Monday, forcing them to reschedule the meeting for Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), had resolved to proceed mobilise workers to begin indefinite strike scheduled for Wednesday, over petrol price hike by the Federal Government.
The workers’ action is expected to take effect from 12 midnight Tuesday.
This was the resolution of the union at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, held Tuesday, at the NLC headquarters in Abuja.
A labour source said the unions took the decision to mobilise workers on strike, after exhaustive deliberations on last week’s fuel hike by the federal government and the attendant consequences on the Nigerian workers and the general public.
“Our decision not to suspend the strike was further fuelled by today’s injunction by the Industrial Court, restraining us from proceeding on the strike expected to begin tomorrow, ”the source who said. He disclosed that the two bodies were still studying development and may not honour the meeting expected with the government at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation this evening.
The factional NLC, led by the General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees, Joe Ajaero, may not join the strike.
He had hinted earlier that his group was not favourably disposed to embarking on the strike.