The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) has suspended its eight-month-old industrial action conditionally, a member of the union’s National Executive Committee told our correspondent early Friday. Hotmedia.ng can authoritatively confirm.
The union decided to suspend the strike during a meeting of its leadership that started on Thursday night and lasted into the early hours of Friday.
The meeting was called by the union to determine its next line of action after its state branches met over the Court of Appeal ruling last week.
The Court of Appeal had ordered ASUU to suspend the strike before its appeal of the ruling ordering lecturers to resume work can be heard.
Members of the union’s National Executive Committee, which comprises the chairmen of the state chapters and members of the national executive, attended the meeting at the ASUU National Secretariat in Abuja.
Speaking with our correspondent, a highly informed source within the NEC said, “Yes, it has been called off”.
When asked for more details, the source said, “the president will release an official circular in the morning”.
The statement reads:
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has directed its members to resume all services hitherto withdrawn with effect from 12:01 on Friday.
The ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President said this in a statement issued at the end of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) emergency meeting on Friday in Abuja.
Osodeke said the meeting was called to review the developments since the union declared an indefinite strike action on Aug. 29.
He also said that for the avoidance of doubt, the issues include of funding for revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowances, proliferation of public Universities, visitation panels/release of white papers.
He added that others are the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a broad spectrum software to stop illegality and provide for an alternative payment platform in the university system and renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement.
According to ASUU president, NEC noted with regrets that the issues in dispute are yet to be satisfactorily addressed.
“However, as a law-abiding union and in deference to appeals by Mr President and in recognition of the efforts of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, and other well-meaning Nigerians.
“ASUU NEC resolved to suspend the strike action embarked upon on Feb. 14.
“Consequently, all members of ASUU are hereby directed to resume all services hitherto withdrawn with effect from 12:01 on Friday, Oct. 14, ‘’he said.
Osodeke, however, noted that during the intervening period, the Minister of Labour and Employment, through a referral, approached the National Industrial Court (NIC).
According to him, for the interpretation of “the provision of sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 18 (1) of the Trade Dispute Act, Cap T8 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
“Whether the on-going prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities which started since Feb. 14 is legal even after statutory apprehension by the Minister of Labour and Employment?
“In addition, he asked for an interlocutory order against the continuation of the strike,’’he added.
He said the National Industrial Court in its wisdom gave an order compelling ASUU to resume work pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Osodeke added that given the nature of the order, and in the opinion of our counsel, there was the need to appeal the interlocutory injunction granted against our Union at the Court of Appeal.
He said the Court of Appeal acknowledged the validity of the grounds of the Union’s appeal but still upheld the order of the lower court.
“It ordered our union to comply with the ruling of the lower court as condition precedent for the appeal to be heard, ‘’he said.
NAN reports that ASUU embarked on the rollover strike on Feb.14 over failure of the Federal Government to meet the demands of the union.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, after what he described as “failed negotiations”, dragged the striking lecturers to the National Industrial Court.
The National Industrial Court had on Sep. 21 ordered ASUU to call off
The court granted the motion on notice filed by the Federal Government directing the lecturers to return to classrooms.
Ruling on the interlocutory injunction, the trial judge, Polycarp Hamman, restrained ASUU from continuing with the industrial action.
However, ASUU through its lead counsel, Mr Femi Falana appealed the case at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.