The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to resolve the ongoing strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
The Congress urged the government to immediately set up a high-powered panel constituted of members with requisite mandates to resolve within 21 days the foregoing issues militating against industrial harmony in Nigeria’s university system.
The NLC said this in a statement by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, after a meeting with its affiliate unions in the education sector.
The Congress said it would be convening a Special Meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of all the affiliate unions of the NLC to decide on the next line of action.
The statement reads in part: “The Congress call on the Federal Government to immediately set up a High-Powered Panel constituted of members with requisite mandates to resolve within 21 days the foregoing issues militating against industrial harmony in Nigeria’s university system.
“And pursuant to the foregoing resolution, the Nigeria Labour Congress would be convening a Special Meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of all the Affiliate Unions of the Congress to decide on the next line of action.”
The NLC expressed concerns about the intermittent and protracted strikes and other industrial actions in Nigeria’s public tertiary education system.
It also expressed concerns over the non-implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreements signed with unions in Nigeria’s tertiary education system which it said touched on university funding, earned allowances, and other welfare issues facing university staff.
The Congress added that it was concerned about the fate of more than 95 oer cent of Nigerian students constituted largely by children of the poor who cannot afford to pay the average of One Million Naira school fees charged by private tertiary institutions and who are currently idling away at home while the children of the rich continue with their education.
The NLC recalled that on 18th August 2020 it wrote the Ministers of Education, Labour and Employment, Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Accountant General of the Federation in a move to avert the present shutdown of the education sector.
The Congress said only the Minister of Labour and Employment through a letter dated 28th August 2020 acknowledged the letter conveying its concerns for Nigeria’s tertiary education.
The decision of the four university-based unions to commence industrial action had grounded academic activities in public universities.
Some of their demands include: Re-negotiation of the 2009 Agreement which is expected to be reviewed every three years; challenges with the implementation of the Integrated Payment Payroll Information System (IPPIS); funding of Universities and tertiary education system in Nigeria, non-payment of arrears of minimum wage for university staff; and Earned Allowances for both Academic and Non-Academic Staff of Nigeria’s Universities.