ABUJA–The National Industrial Court, NIC, sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to call off its over seven-month old strike action.
The court made the order in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Polycarp Hamman.
The ruling followed an application the Federal Government filed for an interlocutory order to compel ASUU which embarked on strike action since February 14, to return to the classroom.
FG’s lawyer, Mr. James Igwe had prayed the court to order the striking varsity lecturers to in the interim, return to work, pending the determination of the substantive suit before the court.
He maintained that the matter was not only urgent, but of a great national interest as millions of students have been at home for over seven months.
“Sections 47 of the Trade Dispute Act, TDA, gives your lordship the power to direct that no worker should continue to embark on strike pending when the applications are heard and determined”, Igwe argued.
He contended that under section 18(1)E of the TDA, employees, could not continue a strike action, when a matter is already referred to the industrial court for adjudication.
Igwe said there was need for the matter to be expeditiously determined to enable university students to return to school, adding that failure to call off the strike would cause irreparable damage to not only the students but also to the nation.
According to him, since the dispute between FG and lectures is already before the court for adjudication, it would be proper and in the interest of justice for the strike to be suspended.
In his ruling, Justice Hamman held that the application was meritorious and deserved to be granted by the court.
While dismissing objections ASUU raised through its lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, the court held that the strike action was detrimental to public university students that cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.
“The balance of convenience tilts in favour of the applicant.
“I hold that this application is meritorious and this application is granted”, Justice Hamman ruled.
The court, thereafter, issued an order, restraining ASUU, “whether by themselves, members, agents, privies or howsoever called, from taking further steps and doing any act in continuance of the strike action, pending the hearing and determination of the suit filed.”
It however declined to award cost against ASUU as FG had demanded.
It will be recalled that ASUU had embarked on an initial four weeks strike to press home its demands that included an improved funding for universities, as well as a review of salaries for lecturers.
It subsequently extended the strike action indefinitely on August 29, following the breakdown of negotiations between the union and the government.
While ASUU accused FG of not being sincere in its negotiation, the government, through the Ministry of Labour and Employment, approached the court to compel the striking lecturers to return to the classroom.
Specifically, it urged the court to, “interpret in its entirety the provisions of Section 18 LFN 2004, especially as it applies to the cessation of strike once a trade dispute is apprehended by the Minister of Labour and Employment and conciliation is ongoing”.
As well as requested for, “an order of the Court for ASUU members to resume work in their various universities while the issues in dispute are being addressed by the NICN in consonance with the provisions of Section 18 (I) (b) of the TDA Cap T8. LFN 2004”.
ASUU had in a counter-affidavit it filed before the court, opposed the suit on the premise that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, lacked the power to order the court in the referral to direct it to call off the strike action.
ASUU’s lawyer, Falana, SAN, argued that such referral amounted to a directive from the Minister to the court.
He maintained that neither a Minister nor the President could wield such powers as to control a court of competent jurisdiction.
More so, Falana, SAN, argued that FG failed to follow the due process as stipulated in part 1 of TDA 2004.
According to him, the law, provided that such matter must first pass through the Industrial Arbitration Panel, IAP, before landing at the NIC.
Falana argued that ASUU would not have embarked on strike had it been the government kept to various agreements and Momoradum of Understanding, MoU, it signed with the union in the past.
Justice Hamman dismissed the objections and ordered the striking varsity lecturers to in line with provisions of the TDA, return to the classroom, pending the final determination of the suit before the court.
NLC, TUC, ASUU, Others Defy Court Order As They Begin Strike
The NLC had on Monday announced the commencement of the industrial action from midnight of Monday, 13 November, in defiance to a restraining order issued by the National Industrial Court in Abuja on Friday.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and its affiliates including the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Tuesday, began a nationwide strike, in defiance to a restraining court order barring them from embarking on the industrial action.
The two major labour unions, NLC and TUC, had declared the strike, following the brutalisation of the NLC president, Joe Ajaero, in Imo State on 1 November. Mr Ajaero was attacked in Owerri, the state capital, during an NLC protest against the Imo State government over alleged maltreatment of workers in the state.
The unions on Monday directed their members to down tools across the country as from Tuesday.
This is despite the restraining order issued by the National Industrial Court, in Abuja, on Friday, stopping the labour unions from embarking on the strike. The judge, Benedict Kanyip, ordered the two major labour unions to stop their industrial action scheduled to commence 14 November.
The interim order followed an ex-parte request by the Nigerian government through the office of Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, due to the Labour unions’ threat to embark on strike.
Ignoring the court order, ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, a professor of soil science, on Monday, directed compliance with the strike declaration in a letter to ASUU zonal coordinators and branch chairpersons across the country.
“As an affiliate of NLC, all members of our union are hereby directed to join this action of NLC to protect the interest of Nigerian workers and the leadership of the union. Zonal coordinators and branch chairpersons should immediately mobilise our members to participate in the action,” ASUU President, Mr Osodeke, wrote in a letter to zonal and branch chairpersons of the union.
When PREMIUM TIMES asked Mr Osodeke if he was aware of the subsisting court order stopping the strike, he said the question should be directed to the NLC which called for the strike.
“Call the NLC, ASUU did not declare a strike, NLC declared the strike. Call NLC,” he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday morning.
But the NLC’s head of information, Benson Upah, did not respond to phone calls and messages sent to his line requesting for comments, as of the time of filing this report.
The labour unions had, on Monday, refused to acknowledge the court order while directing their members to withdraw their services as from Tuesday.
The post NLC, TUC, ASUU, Others Defy Court Order As They Begin Strike appeared first on Jomog.
BREAKINGS.1st Batch of Adustech…
1st Batch of Adustech wudil 2022/2023 Admission list is out
Kindly visit https://kustwudil.edu.ng/admission_list to check ur admission
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Al-istiqama University Sumaila Releases Cut-off Marks for UTME and DE Candidates.
AL-ISTIQAMA UNIVERSITY, SUMAILA SUMAILA LOCAL GOVERNMENT, KANO STATE
(OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR)
14TH SEPTEMBER, 2023
COMMENCEMENT OF UTME / DIRECT ENTRY ONLINE SCREENING FOR THE 2023/2024 ACADEMIC SESSION
The post Al-istiqama University Sumaila Releases Cut-off Marks for UTME and DE Candidates. appeared first on Nigerian Students.
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