The federal government has urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend its ongoing industrial action in the interest of the nation.
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, made the appeal in a statement signed by the ministry’s deputy press director, Samuel Olowookere.
According to Ngige, 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 before embarking on the strike.
He, however, appealed to the striking lecturers to return to the negotiation table, as all the necessary steps for a fruitful dialogue had been put in place.
“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 federal government has set up the Babalakin committee on 13th Feb. 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 i section 41 of trade disputes act, cap T8, 2004.
“In fact, it was on 14th Aug, 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.”
He stated that 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.
Furthermore, Ngige noted that there was an ongoing renegotiation of the 2009 agreement between the government and ASUU. He therefore gave an assurance that his ministry would put a time frame to negotiations this time around.
ASUU had on Monday declared an indefinite strike over the government’s failure to keep to the 2009 agreement.