Workers’ salaries, Work not done, Jobs, Conciliation, Collective Bargaining Agreement, Minimum wage, Presidential race, FG, PDP governor, Ngige, ASUU, Presidential ticket, Without Buhari

The Federal Government has urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to shelve its nationwide planned protest in solidarity with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other university-based unions.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, made the appeal at a meeting with the leadership of NLC in his office in Abuja on Thursday.

This was made known via a statement issued by the Head, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mr Olajide Oshundun.

The NLC had earlier vowed to embark on a nationwide protest on July 26 and 27 to ensure students resume back to school and also in support of the unions in Nigeria’s public universities fighting for quality education.

According Ngige, the Federal Government has made a lot of efforts to resolve the impasse in the university system, saying efforts were still ongoing.

He also reminded the NLC leadership that he incorporated them into the tripartite conciliation going on in his ministry.

Ngige added that they were aware of the efforts of the government to resolve the impasse, so they could not embark on any rally, or protest.

The minister stated that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) mandated him to notify them of the serious security implications of the planned protest.

According to him, a security report also sent to his office by the Department of State Services (DSS) strongly warned against holding the protest, slated for July 26 and 27.

He urged the NLC National Executive Council (NEC) to reconsider the planned rally as hoodlums might take advantage of it to cause breach of security.

READ ALSO: Presidency: Buhari didn’t order minister to resolve ASUU strike in 2 weeks

Ngige further expressed the concern of the government that politicians might cash in on the rally to wreak havoc in the country.

The minister said: “The masses might wrongly interpret the rally as a ploy by the NLC to enhance the chances of the Labour Party (LP) Presidential candidate, a situation which could spur the supporters of the other political parties into violence.

“Section 40 of the Constitution is clear on Freedom of Association. One of the provisions is that people of like minds can organise themselves and form a political party.

“There is also a provision that people in work or employment can organise themselves into unions. They are two parallels. Parallels do not meet.

“I heard when you said you are mobilising for Labour Party. But, a trade union is not a political party. Look at the Trade Union Act.

“It does not allow trade unions to use their contributions to support any political party.”

Responding, both the Deputy President of NLC, Mr Najeem Usman, and General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboajah, assured the government of a peaceful protest by the union, adding that infiltrators would not be allowed to participate in the protest.

Ugboajah appreciated all the efforts of the minister towards the resolution of the industrial actions in the university system and pleaded with him not to hands off the conciliation.

ASUU and other trade unions in the education sector have been on strike for more than five months over alleged failure of government to keep to agreement entered with the unions.

The demands of the striking lecturers include funding of universities, salaries, and earned allowances of lecturers.

The Star



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