In a surprising turn of events, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have vehemently denied receiving any court order to halt their ongoing indefinite nationwide strike.
The President of the Trade Union Congress, Festus Osifo, made this assertion during an exclusive interview with Channels Television on Wednesday, refuting claims that the unions had been served with a restraining order.
“We don’t have any court order; NLC and TUC have none. There is no single communication to that effect,” Osifo stated emphatically, challenging reports suggesting otherwise.
The controversy arose when a court judgment surfaced last week, purportedly restraining the unions from proceeding with their planned strike. However, Osifo’s denial raises questions about the legitimacy of the court order and the communication process between the judiciary and the labor unions.
The ongoing nationwide strike, initiated by the NLC and TUC on Tuesday, gained momentum after an alleged assault on Joe Ajaero, the NLC National President, in Imo State. The incident served as a catalyst for the unions to unite and demand justice, prompting their decision to proceed with the industrial action.
Affiliate unions, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), National Union of Electricity Employees, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), among others, have rallied behind the NLC and TUC by joining the strike. This broad coalition underscores the solidarity within the labor movement and suggests a united front against perceived injustices.
The conflicting narratives surrounding the court order have added complexity to an already charged situation. The labor unions’ denial raises concerns about the legal processes involved and the potential implications for the ongoing strike. As the industrial action continues to unfold, stakeholders, including the judiciary, are urged to clarify the status of any court order and address the growing tensions between the unions and the legal system.
In the absence of a clear legal directive acknowledged by the unions, the nationwide strike appears set to persist, with workers from various sectors joining forces to advocate for their rights and seek resolution for the alleged assault on NLC National President Joe Ajaero. The coming days will likely witness intensified negotiations and increased public attention as the labor unions stand firm in their pursuit of justice and fair treatment for their members.