Minimum wage crisis: Gov Chime sues labour

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The Enugu State government has dragged labour bodies before the
National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja seeking among other things,
a declaration that the current industrial action embarked by workers
in the state at the instance of Congress is unlawful.
The government in the suit dated 12th September, 2011 in which the NLC
and six others including the Chairman and Secretaries of the state
chapter of the body and the Trade Union Congress(TUC) are mentioned as
defendants, is also asking the Court to declare that the National
Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2011 merely required an employer to pay
every worker a wage that is not less than N18,000 per month and did
not apply, to the determination of wages payable generally to other
workers or employees in such organization.
The suit furthers seeks a declaration that the 2nd to 7th defendants
(all labour leaders in Enugu) cannot unlawfully take part in any
strike or engaging in any conduct in contemplation or furtherance of
any strike unless and until after they have fulfilled all conditions
prescribed by law for calling such actions.
Consequent on the above, it is seeking an order of perpetual
injunction restraining the defendants and they represent, jointly or
severally, from embarking on, or continuing in furtherance of, any
strike/industrial in violation of the provisions of section 31 (6) (a)
of the Trade (Amendment) Act or an order of perpetual injunction
restraining from embarking on such action until they have fulfilled
all conditions prescribed by the relevant laws.
Meanwhile the Court Wednesday granted an application by the government
seeking leave to serve the defendants the originating processes
including the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction by
publishing in a named National Daily.
The Court presided over by Hon, Justice M.N Esowe also granted the
claimant’s application to abridge the period within which the
Respondents are given to respond from 7 to 3 days.
The matter has been adjourned to the 21st of September, 2011 for
hearing of the motion on notice.
It would be recalled that the workers in the state embarked on the
industrial action claiming that the government had failed to implement
the new minimum wage in full but the former had vehemently denied this
insisting that it had complied with the provisions of the Minimum Wage
Act by paying the stated sum to workers in addition to the arrears.


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