The Nigerian Labour Congress in Calabar has said the union would pressure the Federal Government to yield to the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities so that Nigerian students could return to school.
The NLC Chairman in Cross River State made this statement when the congress embarked on a solidarity march on major streets of Calabar up to the governor’s office and the state House of Assembly to register their protest of the prolonged ASUU strike.
He said, “If the Federal Government refuses to resolve this issue as soon as possible, we will not hesitate to call on all the workers and embark on a total strike to ensure that we compel the government to do the needful.
“What ASUU is doing is the right thing, I thank them for their resilience because if other unions can do what they have done so far, the Federal Government will sit up,”
The rally was in solidarity with ASUU, which has been on strike for about five months.
The Chairman of ASUU, University of Calabar Chapter, John Edoh said it was shocking that the entire tertiary education system was shut down from Feb. 14 till today July 26 and the government has done nothing.
He complained that ASUU has had several agreements with the Federal Government which have not been fulfilled.
Edoh said, “This time is a time of implementation, the Federal Government must implement first before we return to the classrooms.”
He also spoke on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
“IPPIS was not congenial with university modus-operandi
“ASUU developed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution UTAS which was tested and passed for the Federal Government to pay the emoluments of University staff but the government has refused to use it.
“We are not imposing on the government how to be paid, it is a collective bargaining process, we are saying that IPPIS lacks the ability to capture the peculiarity of the university system.
“If we suspend this strike based on promises by the government and come back again in a couple of months to strike again because of the same issues as we have done in the past, it means we are not serious, it is implementation or nothing,” he said.
Anthony Afufu, a representative of the National Association of Nigerian Students, (NANS), said what they need now from the government is the implementation of all their earlier agreements.
Speaking to the unionists, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr Eteng Williams, said NLC was doing the right thing as it had the right to speak to power.
“Our children have been at home for five months now and we are busy setting up committees without action; we cannot sit on the fence on this issue.
“I will present your grievances at the Speakers Conference because we need action now,” he said.