C’River govt, labour, at daggers drawn as court suspends ongoing strike with immediate effect

Justice Sanusi Kardo of the Industrial Court of Nigeria in Calabar has given an order suspending the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Organised Labour in Cross River State.

Honourable Justice Kardo issued the order on Wednesday, October 19, 2021 in Calabar to restrain Labour and other affiliate Union from further holding rallies in pursuant to the strike and locking up of government premises and ordered that the strike should be suspended with immediate effect.

The Industrial Court Justice ruled that the strike action embarked upon by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state did not comply with S.18 of the trade dispute Act.

Justice Sanusi Kardo further urged parties to negotiate on any issues if there are any to be negotiated to arrive at an amicable resolution.

247NNU learned that the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Tanko Ashang, had instituted legal action against NLC in the state for embarking on strike since last week and locking up government offices.

He contended that labour did not comply with the requirements of the law before embarking on the current industrial action.

In another development, Cross River State Head of Service, Geraldine Akpet-Ekanem (Mrs) late Wednesday night issued a statement calling on workers to report to work following the order by Justice Kardo squashing the strike.

In a letter obtained by 247NNU with Ref: GO/HOS/99/VOL. 1/152 stated that absenteeism will not be accepted.

“Following the indefinite suspension of the industrial action by Order of the National Industrial Court, the State Government has directed all Permanent

Secretaries and Workers to resume work unfailingly on Thursday 21st October 2021 at 8.00 am.

“Workers are requested to note that attendance will be taken at the various MDAs by the Directors/Heads of Administration and immediately submitted to the Office of the Head of Service for necessary action, absenteeism will not be tolerated,” she stated.

In a swift reaction Organised Labour comprising NLC, TUC and JNC have denied knowledge of any court order adding that they were not aware of such matter in court .

Speaking with 247NNU, the Chairman of TUC Cross River State, Comm Monday Ogbodum said labour was not aware of any court process or order, whatever they have is solely their own.

He said: “We are not aware of any court process, order whatsoever, no worker in Cross River will resume work in Cross River until they hear from us.

“There is no work and it remains that way, workers should remain calm and stay at home till they hear from us,” he said.

On his part, Secretary, Joint Public Negotiating Council, JNC, Comm Clarkson Otu told 247NNU late Wednesday on the telephone that the order was strange to them as no process was served on them.

“To be candid, no court process was served on TUC or JNC I can’t speak for NLC at the moment, we have not seen any court order stopping the strike either.

“Be that as it may we must meet with the people who sent us first before any decision can be reached, and let it be known also that court order cannot compel workers to go back to work, we must meet as a group and decide before anything happens.

“For anyone claiming that due process was not followed, the person is very wrong, because statutory notices were issued by Organised Labour before the strike commenced, and we are on the side of the law as far as this industrial action is concerned, so no court order can cause workers to return to work just like that,” he said.

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