…After Reconciliatory Meeting Ends In Deadlock

Indications have emerged that the conciliatory meeting called by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, to deliberate on and proffer solution to the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, ended in deadlock early on Wednesday morning.

Following this development, the Federal Government may have declare the one-month warning strike embarked upon by ASUU as illegal.

While government insists that the demands raised by ASUU were already being met, the union thinks otherwise.

Speaking while addressing stakeholders at the meeting, Ngige said that the ongoing strike was a clear breach of the law, insisting that ASUU did not go through the normal process, before embarking on the industrial action.

Faulting ASUU’s action, the Labour Minister said that the union failed to give the Federal Government the minimum 14 days strike notice, as prescribed by the law, prior to the strike.

Ngige said, “I saw their letter in my office on February 18, which is last Friday and as you know, they started their action on Monday, February 14. So, it is a clear breach of labour laws. There are violations.

“If you must notify us of intending strike action, you give us a minimum of 14 days’ notice. I pointed out to them that we are a country guided by laws. Nobody is above the law. They should obey it.”

The minister also explained that the Trade Disputes Act permits him to apprehend the strike and having done so, the industrial action should cease.

Meanwhile, the meeting between the two gladiators may continue on Monday next week; with a vow from Ngige to approach the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, to also intervene.

He said, “By Monday, we would have dealt with some of the issues they are talking about and return to them for further discussion. We will meet again with them and the NIREC, and we take it from there.”

Recall that ASUU has remained adamant about the continuation of the strike until government fully addresses their demands bothering on revitalization funds, implementation of the Integrated Personnel Payrolls System, IPPIS, among others.


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