Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU have kicked against the sack of 18 lecturers of the Kaduna State University (KASU) for participating in last month’s warning strike the NLC declared in the state to protest the disengagement of some workers by the state government.
The management of the university had sent the names of the affected lecturers with their departments indicated to the state government upon which they were sacked.
In an interaction with LEADERSHIP, NLC president Ayuba Wabba, said the union had already reported the state government to the presidency for breaching their truce terms.
Wabba, who threatened that union would embark on another strike if the state government continued to violate the agreement, described the government’s action as a violation of the “no victimisation” clause in the agreement signed by the congress and the state government after a reconciliatory meeting at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment on May 20.
The NLC said the state government had continued to violate workers’ rights as provided for in the labour laws as well as take punitive measures such as sack of workers for participating in the five-day warning strike.
Wabba told correspondent in Abuja on phone that the congress had written President Muhammadu Buhari to draw his attention to the action of the Kaduna State government.
He said, “The National Executive Council (NEC) of the NLC had on May 25, 2021 resolved that in case the Kaduna State government continued to pursue the path of punitive actions against workers and their interests, that it had given the National Administrative Council (NAC) the power to reactivate the suspended industrial action in Kaduna State.
and also call for the withdrawal of all workers in Nigeria without any further notice.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of ASUU), Abuja zone, Professor Theophilus Lagi, has said the governor of Kaduna State as a visitor to that university does not have the power to sack the employees or interfere in the affairs of the school.
Lagi urged the governor to thread with caution, saying that it may be too hot for him to handle.
He said, “Going by what is trending on the social media as regards the dismissal of academic staff, the Governor of Kaduna State as a visitor to that university does not have the right to sack employees or interfere in the affairs of the university. It is the sole prerogative of the governing council of Kaduna State University to employ and fire staff based on clear university procedures.”
When LEADERSHIP contacted the new national president of ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, he said, “I am still sorting for information from our branch in that university on the true situation. Will react when accurate information is available.”
Some senior advocates who spoke to LEADERHIP condemned the action of the state government.
According to them, labour laws in the country permit unionism.
Mr Abdul Balogun (SAN) condemned the state government a for victimising the workers.
According to him, if the state government is insisting on victimising them, they should approach the industrial court for redress.
A Kaduna-based legal practitioner, Murtala Akosile, accused the state government of being intolerant.
He said, ‘’The Kaduna State government should know that the agreement they have with workers in the state is not a master, slave relationship. Their rights to protest perceived injustice is enshrined in the labour laws of the country.”