• News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: December 27, 2022

Strike: Ngige Says ASUU Might Lose Eight-Month Salary

It appears that the ongoing controversies in Nigeria's university system may continue as the Federal Government has indicated that members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may lose their pension entitlements for the eight months of the strike. 

Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige made the announcement in Abuja following a private meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

Ngige, who described 2022 as a year of strikes, stated that the members of ASUU brought this potential outcome upon themselves due to the implementation of the "no work no pay policy" during the strike. 

ASUU and the Federal Government have been locked in a power struggle after the union suspended its eight-month strike but did not receive their full month's salary. 

Ngige expressed frustration with the situation, saying that the government has had to deal with industrial disputes from various unions in the public sector, while the private sector has been relatively peaceful all year. 

The Minister of Labour also mentioned that the government is facing funding challenges, but there are plans to increase the salaries of academic workers.

"ASUU has not pronounced anything on their salary anymore because it’s one of the issues that was referred to the National Industrial Court for determination, whether a worker who is on strike should be paid in violation of Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act which says when you go on strike, the consequences are these.

“Number one, you will not be paid, you will not be compensated for not going to work to enable your employer to keep the industry or enterprise afloat. That money should not be given to you, and that compensation should not be given. 

"It’s there in Section 43 (1). There is a second leg for Section 43, it also said that the period you were on strike will not count for you as part of your pensionable period of work in your service.

"That aspect, the government has not touched it, but the aspect of no-work-no-pay has been triggered off by that strike. So we are asking the court to look at it.

"So the matter is out of the hands of the Executive (that’s us) and out of the hands of the judiciary. 

ASUU has also put up a defence in court, asking the court, “yes, we went on strike, but we did that for a reason.” So it’s now left for the court to look into it.

On the reason for his visit to the Presidential Villa, Ngige said he was there to give President Buhari a brief on the labour sector for 2022.

“It’s a year we can call a year of industrial dispute starting from the February Academic Staff Union of the Universities (ASUU) strike which was joined by other sister unions in the university system and even the people in the research institutes and thereafter pressed from various unions, including the Medical Doctors Association and the youth wing of the National Association of Resident Doctors.

“JOHESU which is the Joint Health Sector Union were all asking for a wage increase, and asking for a wage increase can also be understandable because of what inflation had done to the economy and the attendance cost of living for people who have to be workers in the public sector.

“In the private sector, the private sector employers have managed their affairs better, maybe, because their finances and its management is within their very audit and they could control it, they could do collective bargaining very easily with their workers. 

"The banking sector, food and beverages, and finance, insurance, everywhere; there is calm there. We didn’t have the desired calmness on the government’s side because of the government’s finances, “Ngige told State House reporters.

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Deborah  Oyewole
Deborah Oyewole

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