The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has rejected the call by a human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, on the federal government to rescind its decision to enforce the ‘No Work, No Pay’ rule in the ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
He said the ministry has formally taking negotiations with ASUU and has scheduled meeting for Monday.
In a statement issued wednesday night in Abuja by the Director of Press in the Ministry, Samuel Olowokere, the minister said his attention has been drawn to media publications in which Falana, described as illegal, the enforcement of Sec. 43.1 of the Trade Dispute Act 2004 on the ‘No- Work, No- Pay’ Act and asked the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately withdraw what he termed an “illegal order”.
“For a start, the minister is in disbelief as to whether the learned lawyer was correctly quoted. However, reading through the news item, especially his direct reference to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) wherein he urged the lecturers to disobey that aspect of the law, insisting also that ASUU complied with 31(6) of the Trade dispute Act 2005 as amended in declaring its strike, the Ministry is constrained to make the following corrections to avoid further misinformation of the general public,” it said.
The minister added that Nigeria is a member of the International Labour Organisation( ILO ) a United Nations specialised agency dealing with labour issues and whose aim is to promote the right at work for employees and employers, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.
Ngige said it is important to state that Nigeria has also ratified and domesticated about eight core conventions of the ILO out of which two are most related in the instant dispute between ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“These are the rights to freedom of association and organisation as well as the right to Collective Bargaining.
“Based on these conventions, the ILO recognises the rights of the workers to strike. However, it also recognises the reciprocal rights of employers to withdraw wages during strike. This is the anchor for No Work, No Pay,” he said.