Consider Students And Call Off Strike, Govt Tells ASUU
The Nigerian government is appealing to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend its ongoing strike in the universities in the interest of the nation and mostly the students.
It is an appeal coming a day after the union downed tools to push for their demands that are largely centred on remuneration and more funding for the education sector.
They said the government failed to keep its part of an agreement reached in 2009.
The appeal was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by Mr Samuel Olowookere, a spokesman for the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige.
According to Ngige, there is an ongoing renegotiation of the 2009 agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU by the Babalakin Committee.
“The Federal Government has set up the Babalakin Committee on 13 February 2017, which is already addressing the issues raised by ASUU.
“Though the Federal Government did not wish to apportion blame, it is important to note that ASUU did not follow due process in the declaration of the industrial action.
“As it did not give the Federal Government, the mandatory 15 days’ notice as contained in the Section 41 of Trade Disputes Act, Cap T8, 2004.
“In fact, it was on 14 August, 2017 that the Office of the Minister received a letter dated 13th Aug. 2017 from ASUU, that is, one full day after it commenced the strike,” the statement read.
The Minister, however, noted that the letter was to inform the Federal Government that ASUU had commenced strike, insisting that it was not a declaration of intention to go on strike as contained in the Trade Dispute Act, 2004.
“Since the case was being conciliated, it was against the spirit of Social Dialogue and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for ASUU to embark on strike as enunciated in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention.
“The Federal Government therefore wishes to appeal to ASUU to consider students who are currently writing degree and promotion examinations. Please call off the strike and return to the negotiation table, the statement added.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment, then promised to ensure that a time frame is tied to negotiation this time around, highlighting that the Babalakin Committee is ever ready to continue the negotiation.
The appeal by the Federal Government is coming hours after National Association of Nigerian Students issued a 21-day ultimatum to the government to make ASUU return to the classrooms or it would ground activities in Nigeria.
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