The Federal Government has made an appeal to the Academic Staff Union of Universities to suspend its on-going strike in the interest of the nation.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, made the appeal today in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Press, in the Ministry, Samuel Olowookere, on the basis of an on-going renegotiation of the 2009 agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU.
Ngige said the renegotiation, which commenced on Monday, February 13, 2017, to address the lingering issues, was being handled by the Babalakin Committee established by the Federal Government.
According to the statement, though the Federal Government did not wish to apportion blame, Ngige noted 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 Section 41 of Trade Disputes Act, Cap T8, 2004.
“In fact, it was on Monday, August 14, 2017, that the office of the minister received a letter dated August 13, 2017, from ASUU, that is, one full day after it commenced the strike, ” he added.
The minister noted that the letter it received was to inform the Federal Government that ASUU had started a strike and not a declaration of intention to go on a strike as contained in the Trade Dispute Act, 2004.
He added that since the case was being conciliated, it was against the spirit of social dialogue and Collective Bargaining Agreement for ASUU to embark on a strike as enunciated in the International Labour Organisation’s Convention.
“The Federal Government, therefore, wishes to appeal to ASUU to consider the students who are currently writing degree and promotion examinations, to call off the strike and return to the negotiation table. The Ministry of Labour and Employment will ensure that a time-frame will be tied to the negotiation this time around,” the minister said.