The Nigerian Labour Congress NLC has said that the lingering industrial action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is not politically-motivated, hence President Goodluck Jonathan should endeavor to avail himself of the details of the agreement the government had with the union since 2009.
The congress pointed this out in a recent statement entitled “Do Not Allow Education Sector to Shut-Down”, wherein it urged the president to give more concern to the ASUU strike and crises in the education sector to avoid a shut-down of the sector.
The congress also identified most of the ASUU demands as subsisting agreements which government is expected to honour.
According to the NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar, President Jonathan should know that those who are supporting the line of thinking that the strike is politically-motivated are “the ones who do not wish Mr President well”.
He added that they prefer to indulge in sycophancy, hypocrisy and boot-licking because of their personal motives rather than tell him the truth.
“In order for Mr President to convince himself about the absence of any ulterior motive against his administration by any of the unions, especially ASUU which has come under accusation, we crave the indulgence of Mr President to insist on being availed the details of these agreements.
“We urge Mr. President to muster the necessary will and skill to confront the issues that threaten this vital sector.
“We also urge Mr President to discountenance the impression that the strike actions against his government are politically-motivated as nothing could be farther from the truth”, the congress appealed.
NLC further noted that the avoidable strike action by ASUU has caused enough disruption or damage to the sector and the implications for the polity are grave and should be avoided, “at least for the sake of our children”.
The statement further read in parts: “As President of the country, he has the onerous task of restoring normalcy to the sector whether the issues are political as he has made the nation to believe or whether they are purely industrial. “The threat of a total shut-down is present and immediate and deserves all the urgency and mobilization Mr President could muster. The developments in the Education sector are symptomatic of greater ills in the polity”, it warned.
“The strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), for instance is in its fourth month and has almost certainly disrupted an entire academic session with collateral consequences.
“Also the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has signaled its readiness to embark on a solidarity strike if government fails to resolve within two weeks the issues of contestation with ASUU.
. “Some of these agreements border on salaries which government has agreed to pay but has elected to observe in the breach instead. For example the case with the Senior Staff Association of the Nigerian Universities, whose members are being owed for over three months.”
The NLC also said it is not oblivious of the present challenges in the economy but it is convinced that the government can reach a truce not just with the unions as well as also halt the decline in the economy only with “requisite discipline, will, prioritisation and genuine dialogue”.