The Nigeria Labour Congress has declared support for ASUU’s decision to embark on the indefinite strike.
The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said all employers, including the government, had a responsibility to honour agreements reached with workers.
Ozo-Eson, a former Chief Economist of the NLC, who was part of the team that negotiated the 2009 agreement on the side of ASUU, said the government had refused to implement the agreement because children of the political class school abroad.
He called on Nigerians to demand uninterrupted academic calendar for their children in Nigerian universities.
He said the organs of the NLC would take a decision on what support to render to ASUU if the ongoing strike became prolonged.
He said, “When an employer enters into a collective bargaining agreement, it is expected that both parties will honour the terms of the agreement. The 2009 agreement was entered into. Incidentally, I was a member of the negotiating team.
“I negotiated that agreement on the ASUU side and it took a long time for a decision to be reached. Initially, government backed away, then it reconstituted and gave authority to the Onosode committee and at the end, the agreement was signed, but government has failed to fully implement it.
“In 2013, when there was a problem, the NLC had to broker the condition that led to the signing of the MoU. Government again has reneged on its own side of the bargain. So when we say ASUU has gone on strike so many times, we need to put it in perspective to say government has consistently failed to honour its own side of the bargain.
“They (government) do this so brazenly and so easily because most of their children do not attend universities here. They are abroad. And that is where the citizens come in. Citizens must be able to hold these people accountable by insisting that their own children have a right to uninterrupted education too and therefore force government to do what is correct so that education can be without interruption.”
The Academic Staff Union of Universities commenced a nationwide indefinite strike to protest against the failure of the Federal Government to implement the terms of the agreement reached between the union and the government in 2009.
The President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, during a press conference in Abuja on Monday, said the strike would be comprehensive as lecturers would withdraw all services including teaching and attendance of meetings in all the universities in the country.
Source: The Punch