The Federal Government has insisted that the planned industrial action by the Nigeria Labour Congress is illegal.
Sam Ogala of Falana’s Chamber, in a letter dated July 28, 2023, had stated that the right to peaceful protest had not been removed from the constitution.
The FG, in a letter on Monday, by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Beatrice Jedy-Agba, addressed to Falana Chambers on Monday, restated that there was a subsisting interim order restraining NLC from embarking on any industrial action.
It partly read: “We reiterate that the interim order clearly restrained NLC from embarking on industrial action of any nature. It is common knowledge that a strike is only a form of industrial action. NLC has expressed intention to embark on nationwide action to force the government (employer) to agree to its demands.
“Furthermore, the participation of workers in the protest will result in restriction, or limitation on, or a delay in the performance of work. The foregoing, inclusive of the purported peaceful protest (in view of its intended aims or purposes) undoubtedly amounts to industrial action. We assert that it is grossly inappropriate to lead the public protest in respect of issues relating to or connected with the fuel price increase, which is currently before the court!”
She also called on Falana to educate the NLC that peaceful protests were no justification for shutting down essential services.
Jedy-Agba said, “From the communique, it is apparent that the current move by NLC goes beyond peaceful protest by issuing a seven-day ultimatum for government to meet its demands and also embark on a nationwide action to compel the government to reverse alleged anti-worker policies.
“Furthermore, uncontroverted media reports have established that NLC is not planning a peaceful protest, but intends to ground the government by endangering public peace, instilling fear in the masses, and precipitating a further crisis.
“It is incumbent on your law firm to sensitise the labour unions that peaceful protests are no justification for disrupting or shutting down essential services, which is tantamount to strike action. Based on the foregoing, you may wish to advise your clients accordingly.”