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ASUU bows to NLC ... Returns to negotiation table

Posted by By TESSY OKOYE on 2008/08/05 | Views: 2525 |

ASUU bows to NLC ... Returns to negotiation table


Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has bowed to pressure from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to return to the negotiation table with the Federal Government over the 2001 agreement for which the university teachers downed tools last year.

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has bowed to pressure from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to return to the negotiation table with the Federal Government over the 2001 agreement for which the university teachers downed tools last year.

The renegotiation process stalled last year following disagreement between the parties.
ASUU walked out of the negotiation following the refusal of the Federal Government to reinstate the 49 lecturers of the University of Ilorin, who were sacked for participating in a nationwide strike by the union.

The university teachers have insisted on the reinstatement of the dismissed lecturers as a condition for returning to negotiation while the government has insisted that the matter must run its course in the court.
At a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja at the weekend, ASUU decided to recommence the renegotiation process, but warned that its change of heart was "without prejudice to its right to use any legitimate means necessary in order to obtain justice."

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, National President of ASUU, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, said that the decision to return to the negotiation table was in deference to entreaties from the NLC, which has undertaken to broker an out-of-court settlement in the contentious issue of the Unilorin 49.
Awuzie said since the union walked out of the negotiation, its leadership had been inundated by entreaties from well-meaning Nigerians, including members of the National Assembly, for a return to the negotiation table while a speedy resolution of the Unilorin issue is being worked out.

"NEC, in view of the intervention by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the decision by ASUU National Delegates Conference (NDC) directs that the union return to negotiation table on the condition that NEC sustains ASUU struggles, and realize the reinstatement of the Unilorin 49," he said.
NLC president, Abdulwaheed Omar had on June 30, 2008 written to ASUU, imploring it to return to negotiation while efforts are intensified to sort out the issue of the sacked lecturers some of whom have already died.

Labour had also written to President Umar Musa Yar’Adua on July 2, informing him of its appeal to ASUU to return to negotiation and asked the administration to allow a meaningful discussion on modalities for recalling the dismissed lecturers.
It would be recalled that the NLC president had told Yar’Adua that his administration’s argument that it was constrained from recalling the lecturers by the pending litigation was no longer tenable. "We undertake to broker an out-of-court settlement if government is sincerely interested in putting an end to this unfortunate event," the NLC had told the president.

According to Awizie, "NEC’s position has been, at all time, that the just resolution of the case of the Unilorin 49 is that all the 49 victims of injustice should be recalled and their full entitlements paid as agreed between the government and ASUU’s negotiation teams and communicated to the two principals."

Noting that the warning strike embarked by his union and which was suspended last year should ordinarily have been followed by a full-blown strike, he said NLC has in a series of meetings with ASUU offered a more active collaboration on the issue of the dismissed teachers to have them reinstated.

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