The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is reported to have concluded plans to drag the Federal Government to the National Industrial Court over the registration of the Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (CONUA) and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA).
According to Channels Television, this was disclosed on Thursday by the Lawyer to ASUU, Femi Falana, when he said, “ASUU is going to court. It is going to be the NIC.’’
Falana had said that the registration of the 2 factional unions is illegal, noting that according to the Trade Unions Act, only one Union is allowed to operate in every sector.
He said, “You can’t have two trade unions in the same sector. Only a union is allowed to be registered for all academics in Nigeria.
“That is the essence of the classification of trade unions because we used to have mushrooms in the First Republic so the government restructured the unions and grouped all academics together and all non-academics together. You can’t have two or three in one field,” he said.
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Falana said there is a Supreme Court judgment on the proliferation of trade unions – the Erasmus Osawe V Registrar of Trade Unions.
The senior lawyer also said the apex court ruled “that your freedom of association is not totaled; it is also regulated by the Trade Unions Act so that there will be no proliferation of trade unions”.
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Recall that on Tuesday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige had on Tuesday presented certificates of registration to CONUA and NAMDA.
Ngige, who spoke while presenting the certificate of registration to the two unions explained that the 2 bodies will exist aside from ASUU.
The recognition and presentation of certificate of registration to these 2 rival unions is seen as part of the strategy by the Federal Government to break the ranks of the unrelenting university lecturers and whittle down the influence of ASUU in the university system.
ASUU had been on strike since February 14, 2022, to press home their unresolved demands on the federal government.
Some of the lecturers’ demands include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, which amounts to N1.1 trillion, payment of earned academic allowances, and adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a preferred payment option, instead of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), payment of promotion arrears and the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement.
Efforts to get the academics back to class have failed until now as several negotiations between the union and the government have failed.