In a bid to ensure harmonious industrial relationship in the nation’s academic system, the Federal Government has registered two more trade unions in the Nigerian university Academic Sub Sector.
The two Unions include Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics NAMDA and Congress of Nigerian University Academics CONUA.
Speaking in Abuja at the occasion in Abuja, the Minister of Labour And Employment Senator Chris Ngige who admitted university sub-sector as the major plank of any nation’s social economic growth, said the last eight months have been hell for the nation’s public universities, as the Academic Staff Union of Universities has persisted in the ongoing strike despite government’s attempt for dialogue and reconciliation.
Ngige added that, with the registration, the newly registered trade unions have the right to operate and exercise its powers like every other trade union in the country.
They minister further charged the two newly registered academic trade unions to go ahead and open the nation’s public universities without any fear of intimidation.
He added that the development would not forestall further reconciliation process with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU.
“In line with the provisions of the Trade Disputes Act CAP TS, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, this Strike was apprehended & Conciliations were done in this Ministry on February 22, 2022, and March 1, 2022. However, all efforts at conciliation failed resulting in the transmission of the trade dispute to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN, for adjudication in line with the statutory trade dispute resolution processes.
“Ministry of Labour and Employment set up a committee to look into the merit of their application, adding that the committee saw merit in the application and recommended approval for the registration of the Association by the Registrar of Trade Unions, RTU, since 2020 But for the advent of COVID-19 pandemic and the recurring ASUU Strike, this would have been done.
“At the NICN, an Interlocutory Injunction Order was obtained asking the Union to get back to work while the substantive suit is being heard; an order ASUU leadership and members refused to obey. Interestingly, a lot of university teachers in the public universities had indicated their willingness to get back to work while negotiations continue but were obstructed by ASUU officials, while the VCs looked on helplessly,” he said.
He explained that Section 3(2) of the Trade Unions Act, CAP. T14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, LFN, 2004 gives the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment powers to regroup an existing Trade Union of Workers or Employers.
“They are also to have members in the Nigerian University Pension Management Company Limited, NUPEMCO, and being on CONUAS Salary Structure/Scheme, they are equally entitled to Earned Academic Allowances, EAA, and all other allowances attached thereto. ASUU despite bickering experienced protests from a large majority of her members including CONUA and NAMDA members.
“These Associations will exist side by side with ASUU in the Nigerian Universities in the spirit and tenets of the International Labour Organisation, ILO, Core Convention nos. 87 & 98 which are respectively on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining; as well as the enthronement of the four (4) pillars and principles of the Decent Work Agenda, DWA, considered necessary for social justice and equity in the world of work.
“They are accordingly entitled to all rights and privileges accruing to such academic Association/organisation including but not limited to receiving check off dues of their members in accordance with Section 17 of the Trade Unions Act,” he added.