NIGERIA’S Trade Union Congress (TUC) has threatened to embark on a solidarity strike with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (Asuu) to compel the government to address workers’ concerns and reopen the universities.
Asuu, Nigeria’s lecturers union us currently on strike over working conditions and remuneration. Earlier this week, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), threatened to declare a three-day warning strike in similar solidarity with the striking Asuu members and now the TUC is planning to take similar action.
Among other things, the TUC has accused the Nigerian government of deliberately neglecting the universities and subjecting workers and students to untold hardship. TUC president, Quadri Olaleye, urged the government to immediately resolve all lingering issues with Asuu or be ready for any industrial action.
Mr Olaleye said: “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. The 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.
“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 N1m while the economy is gasping for breath. They make politics expensive to disenfranchise Nigerians of conscience from the political space and 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.”
Also, the union accused both the ministers of education and his labour and employment counterparts, Adamu Adamu and Chris Ngige respectively, of failure to address the lingering issues, and advised them to resign. In addition, the TUC urged the government to do everything to dispense with the impasse to avoid a situation where congress might be compelled to embark on a solidarity strike.