On the Go

Strike: Court fixes Wednesday to rule on FG’s suit against ASUU

Author:
Bolanle Olabimtan

The national industrial court of Nigeria (NICN) has fixed Wednesday to rule on an application by the federal government seeking to end the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

ASUU has been on strike since February 14 to press home the demand for improved funding for universities, a review of salaries for lecturers, among other issues.

Several meetings between ASUU and the federal government have ended deadlocked.

Consequently, the federal government went to court to challenge the strike.

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At the court session on Monday, James Igwe, argued his application seeking an order of the court restraining ASUU from further continuing with the ongoing nationwide strike.

He said section 18(1)E of the Trade Disputes Act provides that employees cannot be on strike when a matter is before the industrial court.

Falana, however, opposed the application.

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He argued that a referral issued by Chris Ngige, minister of labour, seeking an order of the court asking ASUU to return to work amounts to ordering the court — a power he said the minister lacks

He averred that the claimants did not follow due process in part 1 of the Trade Dispute Act 2004, which stipulates that only an individual has the right to approach the court, as a trade union will first need to go to the Industrial Abitration Panel (IAP), before coming to the court.

He said the union can only approach the national industrial court to appeal the decision of IAP.

He also said the referral asking for an accelerated hearing is not necessary as there is no urgency since the strike had lasted for seven months.

After listening to parties in the suit, Polycarp Hamman, the presiding judge, adjourned the matter for ruling.

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