ABUJA—THE Federal Government, has pleaded with the three striking non teaching staff unions in the universities that embarked on strike yesterday to suspend their action in the interest of the nation.
The three University unions, the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, Non Academic Staff Union and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, had yesterday, started a five-day warning strike over the inability of the Federal Government to implement the 2009 Agreements with the unions.
The Joint Action Committee, JAC, of the unions in a statement in Abuja, stated that the warning strike had become necessary to make government take necessary action to fully implement the 2009 FGN/Non-Teaching Staff Unions Agreements it freely entered into with the unions.
But the Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige in a statement appealed to the three unions to suspend their action in the interest of the nation.
Ngige said, “I wish to assure that the Federal Government is ready and willing to fully dialogue with the members of these Trade Unions, operating under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee. Government has already opened an unhindered channel of communication with all stakeholders and shall maintain this.
“Yesterday, I convened a meeting of all stakeholders in the dispute for us to ventilate all issues and reach amicable settlement. Unfortunately, the Trade Unions requested for a different date and the meeting now re-scheduled for January 18, 2017. The Federal Government therefore, expects that the Trade Unions should suspend the strike before the re-scheduled meeting to make way for untrammeled discussions.
“It is important for Trade Unions to embrace dialogue in the pursuit and attainment of the economic and social interests of their members anchored on equity and natural justice.
“I hence thought it necessary to remind the Trade Unions that there is nothing like a “warning strike” in our National Industrial Relations System, NIRS, a strike is a strike and is subject to all the rules governing strike in the world of work.
“Accordingly, the provisions of Section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act, CAP. T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, LFN, 2004, will apply regarding the law of “no work no pay by workers/employees notwithstanding any other circumstances in any section of the Act.
“Once more, I wish to appeal to the trade unions to embrace dialogue as the Federal Government is fully committed to peaceful resolution of what the unions termed “Full Implementation of 2009 FGN/Non – Teaching Staff Union’s Agreement.”