The National industrial court has adjourned till September 16, a suit filed by the Federal government against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The matter which came up for mention on Monday before Justice Polycarp Hamman was adjourned till Friday for further mention as parties in the suit needed to file more processes.
The Federal Government had dragged ASUU to court over the union’s ongoing strike seeking the court to determine if the strike is legal or not and also seeking an order of the court directing ASUU to call off the strike.
Recall on February 14, ASUU embarked on strike to press home its demands.
The federal government prayed the court among other reliefs to determine if ASUU members are entitled to pay while on strike.
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The suit reads in part;
“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?
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“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.”
What you should know
- On September 8, Chris Ngige, the Minister of labour and employment wrote the industrial court requesting the court to give an accelerated hearing to the suit.
- In the letter to the court the minister said “In view of the fact that ASUU members have been on strike since February 14, 2022, and have refused to call off the action despite the apprehension of same, it would be appreciated if this dispute is given an accelerated hearing to bring the dispute to an end.”
- The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had also filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari seeking among other reliefs, a “Declaration as unlawful the refusal by the Federal Government to meet ASUU’s demands, which has occasioned the prolonged strike action and violated the students’ right to quality education.”
- While SERAP and five Nigerian students are the applicants, the defendants includes; Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Chris Ngige, and Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
- In the suit marked NICN/ABJ/269/2022, SERAP also sought the national industrial court for “An order directing President Buhari and Mr Ngige to immediately implement all the agreements with ASUU in order to end the strike action and violation of the students’ right to quality education.”