The Federal Government from all indications is bent over the registration of other academic staff bodies like CONUA and NAMDA. This is to lessen the significance of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria.
Earlier in the year, the union, that is, ASUU embarked on a strike in order to drive its demands home, as a result of this, public universities were closed for 8 months. The strike was called off after an order from the Industrial Court and the intervention of some well meaning Nigerians.
The Federal Government dragged the union to court and also accepted the other unions. The government now wants the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to allow the registration of two new academic unions.
FG made this known through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige on Tuesday in a statement by Olajide Oshundun, the Head of public Relations in the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Earlier, the unions which are Congress for Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) and Nigeria Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) were awarded letters of recognition by the Federal Government. In response to this, Ayuba Wabba, the president of NLC asked the FG to take back the recognition. He said the registration of the unions are not in compliance to the rules that guide unions.
However, Ngige’s response was to plead with the NLC to allow the bodies be while making reference to “Freedom of Association”.
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The minister said the Trade Dispute Act 2004 allows him to register new trade unions solely, either by registering a new union or regrouping existing ones. He explained that the unions were regrouped from ASUU in order to ensure more organization and productivity.
“Comrade President, do not unnecessarily oppose the registration of these new academic unions. As an uncle of the unions, opposed none in the spirit of Freedom of Association”, he pointed and referred to his power to register unions under Section 3 (2) of the Trade Dispute Act, CAP T14. He also cited litigation in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).
The case involved the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) and the Federal Parastatals and Private Sector Pensioners Association of Nigeria (FEPPAN) regrouped from the NUP.
Ngige recollected that the NICN, in suit NICN/ABJ/219/2019, affirmed its initial ruling that the power to register trade unions resides with the Minister of Labour and Employment.