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ASUU strike: NLC declares nationwide protest for next Tuesday, Wednesday

By Michael Oche

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has announced that it will hold a two-day nationwide protest on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in solidarity with the ongoing strike action by university based Unions.

This was contained in a circular issued to all the state chairmen of the NLC and signed by the National President of the congress, Ayuba Wabba.

Nigerian Pilot reports that the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, had embarked on a nationwide strike on Monday, February 14, 2022.

The Circular informed the Chairmen to mobilise their members for the two days action.

It reads in part, “We bring you fraternal greetings from the national secretariat of the NLC.

“In line with the decisions of the National Executive Council meeting of the NLC held on June 30, 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.”

According to the circular, the protest would be held on “Tuesday, July 26, 2022, and Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in all the states of the Federation and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

“Take-off point is the NLC State Secretariats and the Labour House, Abuja. 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”, he said.

Meanwhile, the NLC in a statement on Sunday said it is concerned about reports wide 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.

In the statement signed by Ayuba Wabba, the NLC posited that the purpose for setting up the Nimi Briggs Committee was to conform with the fundamental principles of the rights of trade unions to collective bargaining as guaranteed by ILO Convention Number 98 which Nigeria has ratified.

The statement reads, “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 the 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.

“Nigerians would recall that the 2009 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Federal Government and the union in the tertiary institutions had expired long before now. Given the free fall of Nigeria’s currency, the Naira, and its continuous devaluation, the need for the review of the 2009 Collective Bargaining Agreement is public knowledge.

“As it stands today, the highest earning university Professor and staff earns less than $800 as take-home pay. This is indeed very ridiculous and is a major factor to the high rate of brain drain in our system making us unable to retain our best brains”, he added.

The Congress said the 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 there from so that public universities in Nigeria can resume normal activities

The statement reads further, “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.

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