The Federal Government has filed a complaint with the National Industrial Court against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which is currently on strike for the seventh month.
Olajide Oshundun, the Head of Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, said in a statement on Sunday that the Federal Government made the decision after talks with ASUU failed.
The government wants the National Industrial Court to order ASUU members to return to work while the court resolves the issues at hand.
Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, signed the referral instrument addressed to the Registrar of Industrial Court on September 8, 2022.
FG’s suit against ASUU
The case is set to be heard at 9 a.m. on Monday, and the Federal Government has asked the court to rule on whether the ASUU strike is legal or not.
Furthermore, the government requests that the court interpret Section 18 LFN 2004 in its entirety, particularly as it relates to the cessation of a strike once a trade dispute is apprehended by the Minister of Labour and Employment and conciliation is ongoing.
The government also made the following requests to the court:
“Interpret the provisions of Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, Cap T8. LFN 2004, titled “Special Provision with Respect to payment of wages during Strikes and Lock-outs,” specifically dealing with the rights of employees/workers during the period of any strike or lock-out. Can ASUU or any other union that embarked on strike be asking to be paid salaries even with clear provisions of the law?
“Determine whether ASUU members are entitled to emoluments or “strike pay” during their period of strike, which commenced on February 14, 2022, more so in view of our national law as provided in Section 43 of the TDA and the International Labour Principles on the right to strike as well as the decisions of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association on the Subject.”
“Determine whether ASUU has the right to embark on strike over disputes as is the case in this instance by compelling the Federal Government to employ its own University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) in the payment of the wages of its members as against the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) universally used by the Federal Government in the nation for payment of wages of all her employees in the Federal Government Public Service of which university workers including ASUU members are part of or even where the government via NITDA subjected ASUU and their counterpart UPPPS university payment platform system software to integrity test (vulnerability and stress test) and they failed.”
FG also wants the court to determine the scope of ASUU’s demand since the union’s 2020 Memorandum of Action (MOA) with the government.
The demands include funding for the revitalization of public universities in accordance with the 2009 agreement, Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) payments, the proliferation of state universities, the formation of visitation panels, and the release of a white paper on the visitation panels’ report.
The reconstitution of the government renegotiation team for renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, which was renegotiated in 2013/2014 and is due for renegotiation in 2018/2019, and the migration of ASUU members from IPPIS to its own UTAS, which is currently being tested at NITDA, are the others.