The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has taken over the negotiation between the Federal government and the striking university teachers over the indefinite strike called by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
This is to avoid unnecessary meddlesomeness and ensure speedy resolution of all issues.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had been leading the negotiation with ASUU, but Ngige, said last night that he had taken over the negotiation by the power conferred on him by section 5 of the Trade Dispute Act.
In a statement issued on Wednesday night, the Minister also condemned the statement made by Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), describing as illegal, the enforcement of Sec. 43.1 of the Trade Dispute Act 2004 on the No Work No Pay provision.
Falana had described the enforcement of the provisions as illegal and asked the Federal Government to immediately withdraw what he termed an “illegal order” emanating therefrom.
“In this particular issue of Federal Government/ASUU negotiation, the Minister had earlier in the exercise of his powers sent back the conciliation to the Federal Ministry of Education as he noticed during the first meeting that both parties have not exhausted the internal conciliation mechanism.
“Knowing that ASUU and her members are on essential services as contained in the Trade Dispute Act, the Minister of Labour has therefore directed that the matter is re-apprehended back into his Ministry to avoid unnecessary meddlesomeness by external interlopers as well as to ensure speedy resolution of all issues to enable ASUU to call off the strike.
“Hence, the Hon. Minister in the exercise of his powers in section 5 of the Trade Dispute Act has re-apprehended the dispute and invited all parties to a meeting. By this, all further discussions between the Ministry of Education and ASUU will now recommence at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
“A meeting has been convened for Monday, December 10, 2018, at the Conference Room of the Minister of Labour and Employment by 4 p.m.prompt. The Ministry will also further investigate the media report credited to Mr Falana to ascertain whether he actually quoted those Supreme Court judgments, knowing full well that they are tangential and that they neither anchor nor dwell on provisions of section 43 of Trade Dispute Act T8 (LFN 2004) before it will take further necessary action,” a statement signed by the Director (Press), Ministry of Labour and Employment, Prince Samuel Olowookere, read.