From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has given the Federal Government a 21-day ultimatum to settle its conflicts with the various university-based unions that led to the ongoing strike which has crippled activities in the system.
The Congress further disclosed that it would be convening a special meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of all its affiliate unions to decide on the next line of action, if the government refused to take urgent steps to resolve the crisis.
These were contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting between the leadership of the NLC and the four university-based unions, recently in Abuja.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, (SSANU) Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied Educational Institutions (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) have all embarked on a strike action leading to a shutdown of Public universities in the country
This is as the non-teaching staff in the universities, under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee (JAC), have threatened to embark on indefinite strike over the failure of the government to address the concerns they raised.
The two unions said they had written about 10 letters to the government, drawing its attention to the last Memorandum of Action (MoA) entered freely but lamented that the government neither responded to the letters nor acknowledged them.
In an effort to end the industrial dispute in the university system, NLC on Tuesday disclosed that it held a meeting with the leaderships of SSANU, ASUU, NASU and NAAT.
In a communiqué signed by its President, Ayuba Wabba, and the General Secretary, Emmanule Ugbaja, the Congress noted that it was forced to intervene in the matter due to the intermittent and protracted strikes and other industrial actions in Nigeria’s public tertiary education system as well as non-implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreements signed with unions in Nigeria’s tertiary education system, which touched on university funding.
Others issues listed include; “Earned allowances and other welfare issues facing universities’ staff, and the fate of more than 95 per cent of Nigerian students constituted largely by children of the poor who cannot afford to pay the average of N1 million school fees charged by private tertiary institutions and are currently idling away at home, while the children of the rich continue with their education.”
NLC, in its resolution, “called 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.
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.”