….Says ASUU has a record of 50 months strikes from 1999 till date
As students under the auspice of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) took to the streets protesting three-months on-going strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Director General of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Comrade Issa Aremu, has urged university dons and the Federal government to return to what he called “genuine Social Dialogue” to resolve all outstanding issues in the university system.
The Director General spoke from Ilorin on the Channels Television breakfast programme “Sunrise Daily” on Thursday (May 5, 2022) via Zoom.
Comrade Aremu called for “an immediate convocation of an expanded meeting within the context of the statutory National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) to resume social dialogue on all issues in dispute”.
He expressed optimism that ASUU/ Federal Government dispute was surmountable.
According to MINILS boss, ASUU/ FG disagreement is “legacy avoidable crisis of collective bargaining” which dated to military administration.
He regretted that since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999, ASUU had embarked on strikes for 50 months, ( almost five years) adding that strikes by lecturers that lasted 18 months under former President Obasanjo had truncated the legitimate aspirations of students in public universities to complete their studies in record time.
The Director General, who was also a two term Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) observed that Nigeria has vibrant and tested institutions for grievance handling and dispute resolutions, and urged both the officials of the Ministry of education and ASUU to take advantage of the tripartite National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC), suspend current hostilities and resume social dialogue for students to return to classes.
While expressing solidarity with the students who are out of schools due to the prolonged crisis, Comrade Aremu observed that President Buhari in his May Day speech was “not unmindful” of the urgent need to resolve the crisis given the mediatory role of the Honourable Minister of labour, Dr Chris Igige.
He therefore urged all parties to resume discussions to salvage the education sector which he said already suffered from “poor facilities, brain drain and mismanagement of limited funds”.
“At the core of the ongoing crisis in the universities is the issue of crisis collective bargaining of both “disputes of rights” and “interests”. Both parties need a new thinking, within the context of NLAC, reaffirm commitment to collective agreements and suspend the unhelpful dysfunctional prolonged strike” he said.