The Federal Government’s registration of the two factional unions, according to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, has prompted the union and it is ready to file a complaint with the National Industrial Court (NIC).
“ASUU will appear in court. It will be the NIC,” ASUU’s attorney Femi Falana said on Thursday on Channels Television.
The FidelinfoNews reports that the development was also confirmed by Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President of ASUU, in a conversation with Punch correspondent on Thursday morning.
The Federal Government on Tuesday registered two factional academic unions – the Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (CONUA) and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA).
The registration of the two factional unions took place as talks between ASUU and the government broke down amid the over seven-month strike by lecturers of public universities.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Tuesday, explained that the two bodies will exist alongside ASUU, adding that the two associations will enjoy the rights and privileges accorded to other academic unions in the tertiary education system.
However, Falani, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the registration of CONUA and NAMDA is illegal. He said according to the Trade Unions Act, only one union is allowed to operate in every sector.
“You can’t have two trade unions in the same sector. Only a union is allowed to be registered for all academics in Nigeria.
“That is the essence of the classification of trade unions because we used to have mushrooms in the First Republic so the government restructured the unions and grouped all academics together and all non-academics together. You can’t have two or three in one field,” he said.
Falana said there is a Supreme Court judgment on the proliferation of trade unions – the Erasmus Osawe V Registrar of Trade Unions.
The senior lawyer also said the apex court ruled “that your freedom of association is not totalled; it is also regulated by the Trade Unions Act so that there will be no proliferation of trade unions”.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022, over unpaid allowances, poor welfare, and payment software, among others.
ASUU Brace For Another Face-Off With FG
The Federal Government and members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU may be bracing for another round of face-off, recent developments between the union and the government have indicated.
Fidel Info reports that The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has insisted that the government will not pay full salaries to lecturers despite their ongoing nationwide protest.
Adamu, made this stance while speaking with State House correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday.
The minister insisted that the government resolution, that the protesting lecturers would not be paid for work not done, was in line with the ‘No work no pay’ policy.
Recall that ASUU had on Monday begun protests across the country to press home their demand for full pay after the Federal Government refused to pay them for the eight-month period the lecturers were on strike.
ASUU, which had earlier, in February, embarked on strike, called off their strike in October, following an order by the Court of Appeal.
Following the development, the government paid the lecturers half salaries for the month of October while insisting that it would not pay for the eight months they were on strike.
But, ASUU began protests across the country over the half salaries paid by the government for the month of October.
In reaction to the protest, the education minister declared on Wednesday that the lecturers “would not be paid for work not done.”
The minister also reacted to the allegation made by the President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodoke, that paying the lecturers on a pro-rata basis was a ploy to make them casual workers.
“Nobody can make university lecturers casual workers,” he said.
Adamu said he was not aware that the lecturers were threatening a one-day action to protest the government’s action.
ASUU Branches Begins Traditional Voting Today
Branches of the Academic Staff Union of Universities will begin their customary vote today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday) about the union’s ongoing strike.
The National Executive Council will receive the various branches’ decisions for final decision-making.
This information was provided to the PUNCH correspondent in Abuja by a highly-placed source within the NEC on Tuesday.
“We got the directive after the meeting with the speaker yesterday(Monday). The intervention was timely. Branches will vote between today and tomorrow after which the decisions will be convened to the NEC,” the source said.
The new development follows a meeting with Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House of Representatives, who organized many talks between the union and the Federal Government side.
The strike would end in a few days, according to Femi Gbajabiamila, SAN, the lead attorney for ASUU, who also stated this to The PUNCH.
The government’s inability to satisfy ASUU’s unmet requests, according to the union, prompted the union to go on strike on Monday, February 14, 2022.
After “failed negotiations,” the minister of labor and employment Chris Ngige hauled the lecturers on strike to the National Industrial Court.
On September 21, the National Industrial Court ordered ASUU to end the strike.
The federal government’s request on notice was granted by the court, ordering the lecturers back into the classrooms.
In his decision on the interlocutory injunction, trial judge Polycarp Hamman prohibited ASUU from carrying out the industrial action until the outcome of the lawsuit brought by the federal government against ASUU.
Unhappy with the decision, the union went to the appeals court to challenge it.
Additionally, a request for a stay of the Industrial Court’s judgment was made.
The Court of Appeal ordered the striking lecturers to “immediately” call off the eight months strike, having struck out ASUU’s application for a stay of execution of the lower court’s order.
It said it was within ASUU’s right to appeal the decision of the industrial court.
Agreeing with the federal government’s argument that ASUU cannot approach the appellate court with “dirty hands”, the panel held, “should the applicant fail to obey the order (of the lower court), the leave granted shall be automatically vacated.Branches of the Academic Staff Union of Universities will begin their customary vote today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday) about the union’s ongoing strike.
FULL DETAILS: Appeal Court Orders ASUU Immediately Call Off Eight-month Old Strike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities’ request for leave to appeal was approved by the Court of Appeal in Abuja (ASUU).
The leave so granted enables ASUU to formally contest the National Industrial Court’s interlocutory order directing its members to return to work until the outcome of the Federal Government’s substantive lawsuit against the strike that ASUU had initiated. The order was issued on September 21.
A three-judge panel of the court, presided over by Justice Hamma Barka, issued an order on Friday directing the professors on strike to “immediately” end their eight-month strike.
The court struck out ASUU’s request for stay of execution of the Industrial Court’s order, which its lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) withdrew on Thursday.
The appellate court said should ASUU fail to re-open the universities, the order to appeal against the interlocutory injunction of the National Industrial Court “will be automatically vacated.”
It gave the union seven days within which to file its notice of appeal against the order issued by the National Industrial Court.
Justice Barka said, in the lead ruling, that “I am inclined to granting the application to appeal the decision of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.
“But, the order of the lower court shall be immediately obeyed.”
Justice Barka agreed with ASUU that it was with its right to appeal the decision of the Industrial Court.
The judge also agreed with the Federal Government that ASUU could not approach the appellate court with “dirty hands” having failed to first, comply with the September 21 order.
He said “should the applicant (ASUU) fail to obey the order (of the lower court), the leave so granted shall be automatically vacated.”
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