TUC threatens to embark on solidarity strike with ASUU members
The Trade Union Congress (TUC), one of Nigeria’s leading amalgamated labour unions, has threatened to embark on a solidarity strike with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to compel the government to address the workers’ concerns and reopen the universities.
This is coming a few days after the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) – TUC’s counterpart, threatened to declare a three-day warning strike in similar solidarity with the striking ASUU members.
In a statement signed by TUC president, Quadri Olaleye, the union accused the Nigerian government of deliberately neglecting the universities and subjecting the workers and students to untold hardships.
The statement urged the federal government to immediately resolve all lingering issues with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) or be ready for any industrial action.
The statement reads in part; “The Congress and its affiliates are unanimous on the return of our children back to school, and the government has no excuse whatsoever to further keep these innocent students and their lecturers at home. Congress is worried that a government that could raise money to feed children who were at home during the heat of COVID-19 cannot do the same for the education sector now.”
The union accused both the ministers of education and his labour and employment counterparts, Adamu Adamu and Chirs Ngige respectively, of failure to address the lingering issues, and advised them to resign.
The union further stated; “We strongly condemn the continued disruption of the academic calendar in public institutions and the apathetic attitude of political office holders, who are busy buying nomination forms at N100,000,000 (One hundred million naira) while the economy is gasping for breath. They make politics expensive to disenfranchise Nigerians of conscience from the political space. The peak of the absurdity is that even serving politicians with no visible projects to their credit are also buying forms to be president!
“We wish to stress that the reason why politicians care less about the plight of Nigerians is because their children school and live abroad, what happens in Nigerian public universities is none of their business. The time has come for the organised labour and all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Government to honour the collective agreement reached with the university teachers. The danger of keeping the students at home at a time the country is facing a serious security challenge is quite grave and unacceptable to us.”
“The clear ineptitude of this administration is becoming more worrisome, unfortunately, there appears to be no end in sight, making the country a laughing stock in the committee of nations. Government must engage ASUU without further delay in constructive negotiations to find a lasting solution to their complaints now or get ready for a mass action,” TUC concluded.
Similarly, the national leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has said it will disrupt the primaries of political parties in Abuja, the federal capital territory (FCT).
The zone F of NANS, which comprises universities in Nigeria’s South-east, Tuesday, also issued a statement announcing a nine-day ultimatum to both the government and the striking union to open all public universities.