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Court restrains FIRS staff union from planned protest, strike action

Court restrains FIRS staff union from planned protest, strike action
July 23
18:13 2021

The national industrial court sitting in Abuja has stopped the National Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) from either staging protests at various offices of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) nationwide or embarking on a nationwide strike.

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The union had commenced mobilisation to picket the offices of FIRS nationwide from July 26, 2021, following the decision of the agency to dissolve its union.

Abdullahi Ahmad, FIRS director, communications and liaison department, in a statement on July 18, said the union whose executives were purportedly made up of senior staff of FIRS, was dissolved in an official announcement circulated to all staff.

“In line with Gazette No. 6 Vol 65 dated February 8, 1978, and national industrial court judgement dated June 27, 1995, it is noted that the operations of Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) FIRS unit as it is constituted today in FIRS is considered illegal,” the statement read in part.

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Ahmad further stated that “there is accordingly no legal or another basis whatsoever for the continued existence of a junior staff cadre union in FIRS as the cadre of staff it is deemed to cover do not exist within the organisation. A letter from federal ministry of labour to the head of service of the federation dated 19th February 2015 confirmed the above position in categorical terms.”

Learning about the planned action by the unionists, FIRS filed an ex parte application before the court seeking “an order interim injunction restraining the respondent whether by itself, executives, agents, representatives, allies or any other person by whatever name called from engaging in any trade union activities including but not limited to picketing, strike, lockout, meeting, on or around the premises of the applicant pending the determination of the motion on notice.

They also sought an order of interim injunction restraining the respondent “from discussing, maligning, defaming, smearing, vilifying the applicant in the media, including print, electronic and social media.”

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Delivering ruling on Thursday, Olufunke Anuwe, presiding judge, restrained the respondents from picketing the offices of the applicant on July 26, 2021, or any other day pending the determination of the motion on notice.

They are also restrained from going on strike, as by so doing, the very essence of the substantive suit is defeated.

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