From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) has commended the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity for granting recognition to the trade union in spite of an alleged deregistration plot against it by a rival union.
ASUSS also saluted the Supreme Court of Nigeria for proving the judiciary as the last hope of the common man by upholding its appeal in a judgment delivered on January 15, where it held that ASUSS’ registration did not contravene the trade union statutes.
This was contained in a statement entitled “A Woeful Cry; Agony Of A Loser” signed by ASUSS National Secretary Sola Adigun and made available to reporters in Ado-Ekiti on Saturday .
Adigun, who doubles as the ASUSS Chairman in Ekiti, upbraided the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) for misinterpreting the outcome of the judgment to mislead the public.
‘However, it is expedient for us to debunk the falsehoods that were being projected by NUT on the Supreme Court judgment of 15th January, 2021, that is still rattling the leadership of the NUT over which they have rigorously inundated the public with different misleading interpretations,’ ASUSS said.
‘It is an incontrovertible fact that the Supreme Court judgment of 15th January, 2021, was in favour of ASUSS, as it sets aside and nullified the Court of Appeal judgment of July 11, 2014.
‘We, hereby, state categorically that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment or any court of competent jurisdiction has not cancelled the approval of ASUSS as a trade union.’
Tracing the struggle for the establishment of ASUSS, Omaji clarified that the body was conceptualised in 2001 by progressive-minded teachers under the aegis of Conference of Secondary School Tutors (COSST) consequent to the failure of NUT to serve the interest of secondary school teachers.
‘Subsequently, on 13th August 2005 application for registration as trade union was made to the Registrar of Trade Union. But on the 5th October, 2007, the registrar refused to grant our registration predicating on sections 5(4) and 3(2) of Trade Union Act. In pursuant to sections 5(5b) & 6(3), we appealed to the minister on the 25th February, 2008 and he approved ASUSS as a trade union on the 19th May, 2008.’
Adigun debunked the allegation raised by NUT that the union was being majorly bankrolled by ‘governors’ that are not paying teachers’ salaries as and when due.
‘The establishment of ASUSS, which was legally justifiable as pointed out above, was a value added to the education sector rather than being perceived as a threat. In the tertiary education sector, all levels have their unions, in the health sector, there are over 12 unions and heaven has not fallen.
‘Those who see ASUSS as a threat and using poor teachers’ resources to parley government officials and Institute multi-million naira litigations against their sister union are those negotiating with the lives and welfare of teachers for their selfishness.’