As a result of the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU) alleged failure to submit its audited reports as required by law over the previous five years, the Federal Government may decide to revoke the organization’s registration as a trade union.
According to reports, the Registrar of Trade Unions has written the union asking why its registration certificate should not be revoked because it has broken the law.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, spoke while receiving members of the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA), who had come to visit him to express their support for the Federal Government in the ASUU controversy.
The Minister bemoaned the university-based unions’ habit of disobeying the law that established them by failing to submit their yearly audited accounts.
He claimed that due to the ongoing strike, he was forced to let the law take its course against ASUU because of the potential for misinterpretation of any government action.
He argued that, in accordance with the law’s provisions, the leadership of university-based unions that collect check-off dues from their members must provide an accounting of how the money is used.
In the meantime, medical university lecturers have submitted an application to the Ministry of Labour and Employment in order to establish themselves as a separate trade union under the auspices of NAMDA.
The group has also claimed that it did not participate in the ASUU-led strike; rather, it claims that its members were locked out as a result of the union’s declared industrial dispute.
NAMDA announced that it would soon begin testing medical students at the 500 and 400 level, noting that the nation lacks medical doctors and that it would not be in her best interest to miss a year due to a strike.
“I am happy today that you people have noticed what is wrong with medical education and decided now to form a single trade union,” Ngige said in response to the group’s request to be registered as a trade union.
“Yes, your application was received by us about two or three months ago. I even informed NMA that it is not done that way when they came to make an oral application for you people. If you are aware of what you require, you become officially recognized as a trade union. Trade union registration comes with its own set of benefits.
The following privileges are available to you as a union: freedom of association with others who share your interests. individuals with the same profession. those who share the same opinions. people who support increasing the nation’s output of medical professionals.
“As a union, you also have the benefit of automatic checkoffs of dues from your members by their employers, in this case, universities. The benefits are as follows.
What are the drawbacks? The drawback is that you must abide by our laws. the country’s laws. You elites, in particular SSANU, NASU, ASUU, and NAAT, fall short in that area. you all who are enrolled in a university. They have not complied with labor laws.
The pertinent section of Trade Union Creation requested audited accounts, but ASUU did not respond. How do they make use of their funds? They should keep track of the money they receive in check off dues. Accordingly, the Trade Union Act mandates that unions submit audited financial statements to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in June of each year.
“The Registrar of Trade Unions has written them to ask them to provide justification as to why their certificate of registration should not be revoked. The letter received no response from them. Instead, I discovered that they arrived last Friday, carrying a number of documents, and claimed to be their audited account.
Of course, he correctly informed them that he no longer needed their audited financial statements. Please respond to my request for justifications as to why disciplinary action against you shouldn’t be taken. Even though I have ASUU restrained, if disciplinary action is taken against him right now, they will claim that it is because we are in court. They will claim that because we are on strike, we are being victimized. We are being made to pay. However, they have been breaking the law.
“They haven’t presented an audited account of their activities in five good years, at least not for the benefit of their members. You are their members right now. They ought to explain how they used your funds. Neither have they
He said, in reference to the ASUU strike, “You went on strike. One week later, the Minister of Labor brought you here, where we talked about seven different things one at a time and settled on five of them.
“The two issues on which we couldn’t agree were the use of UTAS; we asked NITDA to test again. In a meeting with the traditional leaders, Sultan and NIREC, we requested a report from NITDA within six weeks.
The only issue left to be resolved in the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement is the employees’ conditions of service, so we requested that they attend school.
“It is untrue that the government is not carrying out the 2009 agreement, as you claim. President Jonathan and his team agreed to pay you N1.3 trillion to N220 billion per year for six years during the 2009 contract renegotiation, which took place in 2013. Maybe because they were aware that they were leaving. But they both agreed on that.
We had reached a new understanding here by 2019. However, we noted that this government is unable to satiate your request. What are we to do? We set up a payment schedule for a single N220 billion tranche.
“This administration began paying. They have already paid about N50 billion. I’m not sure, but I believe we asked them to compare the data from the Budget Office and ASUU. The public is misled when they claim that the 2009 agreement. We were unable to make payments for Goodluck Jonathan’s government’s revitalization in 2009. Government stating that it is unable to pay is not wrong. Let’s restructure our promise to you or our debt. It was a contract. Anytime can be a good time to renegotiate a collective bargaining agreement. That is where we are.
“Their employment terms, which included pay on their scale, the CONUASS, were another item up for negotiation. That one was returned to education, which served as their principal employer. Education invited council chairmen, with professor Mini Briggs serving as committee chair. That negotiation will also be guided by what. The ILO’s guiding principle for the mechanism of wage fixing is the availability of the fund and, consequently, the ability to pay.
“Merely promising to give you N1.3 trillion and then failing to do so is insufficient. Because of this, there was a negotiation and various proposals were made. These proposals are currently in dispute. They did not consult the government enough before accepting the proposal on what they could pay from the education committee. They did not consult the finance minister. They did not seek advice from the Federation Budget Office. The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission was not consulted.
The decision was made to tell the representatives we sent to leave. They then honored themselves. They gave themselves money. There was our Director of Trade Union Services. She was instructed to go. Our labor attaché in education received a termination order. Also instructed to leave was the person in NSIWC. He did not even take part. After being instructed to leave, they made a decision and gave themselves money. That is not how it is done. That is not a CBA anymore. Agreement on collective bargaining.
Even then, the government responded, saying, “Let’s make a counter offer. We need our kids to go back to school. They presented a counterproposal. It is that counter offer, which they mislabeled as an award and which is meager and insubstantial. The award was for a 23.5 percent overall increase for all university employees, including SSANU, NASU, and NAAT, as well as a 35 percent increase for professors. Despite the fact that their salaries received a National Minimum Wage consequential adjustment in May, this continues.
“After the Act was signed by the President in May 2019, you received a 10% pay raise from the government. Many people received the funds despite being on strike.
“Others wrote and said they would use it as ammunition to fight the government and continue their strike. No government is what you are up against. I work for the government, but I’m leaving tomorrow. My siblings and brothers are ASUU members. I’ve got friends.
“Professors who are also teachers make up my classmates. They belong to ASUU. Naturally, I want the best for them, but they are approaching it improperly. I’m preventing them from using intimidation and blackmail.
Never threaten your employers. In labor negotiations, it is not permitted. Even a strike during a negotiation is now a form of blackmail and intimidation, and the wage fixing mechanism forbids it. ILO principles are in use here.
“For this reason, Section 18 of the TDA mandates that if you are on strike or have locked out your employers for any reason, you must end it as soon as the Minister establishes a mechanism for apprehending the dispute.”