by Adegwu John (Leadership)
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) will on July 26, 2022 embark on a nationwide protest in solidarity with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other affiliate unions to support the lingering industrial action in public universities.
In a circular issued to state secretariats by the congress and sighted by LEADERSHIP yesterday, national president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba told fellow comrades that the National Day of Protest was in support of unions in Nigeria’s public universities who are fighting for quality education.
He said the solidarity protest was part of moves to get students back to school. “In line with the decisions of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Nigeria Labour Congress held on the 30th of June 2022, we have scheduled as follows the national days of protest to get our children back to school and support our unions in Nigeria’s public universities fighting for quality education.
“You are requested to immediately convene the meetings of your SAC to disseminate this information and to fully mobilise workers in the states for this very important protest for good governance,” Comrade Wabba said.
In another development, the congress has accused the federal government of not negotiating in good faith to resolve the crisis in Nigeria’s public universities.
Comrade Wabba in a statement yesterday, expressed concern about reports in the media that the federal government may have rejected its own Nimi-Briggs Committee on the premise of alleged disparity between the pay rise allocated to university teaching staff and the non-teaching staff.
The statement reads in part, “It is a shocker for us to read from the media snippets of a report of what is strictly the product of a negotiation between the federal government committee and the concerned trade unions.
“Our first response is to aver that this development gravely betrays and undermines the principle of negotiation in good faith as it manifests crass disrespect by government for trade unions in Nigeria’s universities. Second, the circumstances surrounding the work of the Nimi-Briggs Committee also portrays the disposition of government as mortally unserious unfortunately in such a grievous matter as the locking up of public universities for nearly five months.”
The congress said federal government should immediately conclude the ongoing negotiation with trade unions in Nigeria’s universities and be prepared to commence implementation of whatever Collective Bargaining Agreement arising therefrom so that public universities in Nigeria can resume normal activities.
It also resolved that the federal government should immediately pay the salaries of striking university workers which had been frozen on the premise of the so-called “no work-no pay” policy especially as recommended by the leaders of Nigeria’s two major faiths.
“We demand that the federal government meets these demands in line with the resolutions of the statutory organs of the congress. All the decisions of the NEC have been activated accordingly with a circular to affiliates and state councils of Nigeria Labour Congress,” the statement added.