Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has promised continued support for striking university lecturers to ensure all their wages are paid contrary to the Federal Government position on ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy.
NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, who spoke at the 30th National Industrial Training of the National Union of Chemical Footwear Rubber Leather and Non Metallic Employees in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday, warned the Federal Government not to make the lecturers feel unwanted.
“There would be no basis for a six-month strike if not for the shamelessness of leadership. And you have two ministers speaking from both sides of their mouths…
“In 2012, same minister of education, Adamu Adamu praised Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) under former president, Goodluck Jonathan, during their strike then, now he wants ASUU (members) arrested and jailed. We should look at what started the problem rather than flaunting the policy of ‘No Work, No Pay.”
The NLC scribe said work for teachers in the universities, according to their letter of employment, are in three folds – teaching, research and community services – maintaining that the lecturers despite being on strike have been performing the two other roles, hence deserve their wages contrary to what government want the public to understand.
“There cannot be an employer without an employee. Dialogue is key here. If government wants to insist on ‘no work, no pay’, then let them keep their money and workers keep their knowledge. Solely for us, it is not a matter of legality, but that of humanity.”
He lamented that Nigeria has continued on the downward journey due to the selfishness of the political class, insisting that Nigerians need courage, commitment and opportunity to rebuild the country.
“If you vote on tribal sentiment, we will continue to suffer what we have been facing. Villa is a place for serious business not a place for grand parents.”
Ugboaja took a swipe at the government for blaming part of the country’s economic woes on subsidy payment.
“What they are doing is stealing, not subsidy and we will continue to resist efforts to increase prices of petroleum. You cannot have crude oil in Nigeria and base it on importation. Nobody should believe the crap on subsidy that they are stealing, it has nothing to do with price increase. There is no subsidy on diesel, kerosene, yet their prices have skyrocketed.”
The NLC scribe said the position of labour is to have a president who would refine petroleum products at home as well as have a good understanding of what minimum wage means to workers.
“The NLC, last December, had taken position on what we will do in 2023. The election will be free and fair and we will win the election under Labour Party and Peter Obi is our flag bearer,” he said.
It also vowed to take Nigeria back from the grips of the present political class in 2023.
Earlier, Femi Adekunle, chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council of the chemical sector, called on the Federal Government to use the money being expended on subsidising petrol every year to revitalise the educational sector.
“If you fail to take care of your education, you are indirectly breeding criminals. N1.3 trillion is what government said it’s using to subsidise fuel every year while N1.2 trillion is needed to revitalise education,” he said.