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Court bars organised labour from embarking on strike over minimum wage

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THE National Industrial Court (NIC) has granted an order restraining the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on strike over the issue of a new national minimum wage.

Both labour unions had planned to commence a nationwide indefinite industrial action from November 6, following the inability of the committee set up by the federal government to reach a concensus on a new national minimum wage.

Ruling on an ex-parte application filed by the federal government through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Justice Sanusi Kado of the NIC ordered the NLC and the TUC not to go ahead with the planned strike pending the determination of the suit before the court.

Justice Kado also restrained the NLC, the TUC and the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Governors Forum (the first, second, and third defendants in the case respectively) from taking steps capable of destroying the subject of the dispute.

He said he was granting the ex-parte application so as to avoid the likely negative effect the strike could have on the nation’s economy and people. He subsequently fixed November 8 for the hearing of the main suit.

The current national minimum wage is N18,000, but the organised labour is demanding that the amount be increased to nothing less than N30,000, taking into consideration the hyper-inflation that is currently being experienced in the country. But the federal government said it can only pay N24,000, while state governments are proposing an even lower amount of N22,500.

Reacting to the recent development on Friday, National President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the union is yet to receive a copy of the court judgement, adding that the union will decide on the next line of action once it receives the court judgement.

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He, however, insisted that the N30,000 is not too exorbitant an amount for the federal government to adopt as the new minimum wage. Wabba also said that some state governors, including those of Gombe and Bayelsa, have agreed to pay the amount being demanded by labour.

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