President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Dr. Nasir Fagge, said on Tuesday that the current strike by lecturers of public universities in the country was a sacrifice for better things to come.
Fagge told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that there would be no development unless the deficits in the education sector, especially the university system, were addressed once and for all.
University teachers, under the aegis of ASUU, have since June 30 embarked on what they described as comprehensive, total and indefinite strike in public universities across the country.
The lecturers are asking for the implementation of some aspects of an agreement they jointly entered into with the Federal Government in 2009.
According to Fagge, it is regrettable that the strike is protracted, and that the decision of ASUU to remain adamant until its demands are fully met can seem uncomfortable and worrisome.
He said that the industrial action was a sacrifice needed to salvage the entire economy of the country.
He said, “I sincerely want to call on all concerned, especially students and parents, to bear with us, as well as join hands with us in the struggle to right the wrongs in our education sector once and for all, for the good of us all and that of the country.
“I know it is quite a difficult time for us but I also want to state that what we are doing is for our own good, as well as to ensure that strikes become rare, as a weapon to get things done in our system.
“We also want to ensure that there is sincerity and respect for mutual agreements by parties in order to attain a common goal for the good of our dear country”
Meanwhile, a group, the Registered Trustees of Golden Women of Integrity and Vision Association, has dragged ASUU before the National Industrial Court over the ongoing strike action.
Others listed as defendants in the suit number NICN/Abj/242/2013 are the ministers of Labour and Productivity, Education, Finance and Justice, as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
In the suit, the plaintiffs are asking the court to determine whether the strike action embarked upon by ASUU was not illegal, and whether members of the union are not bound by the policy of ‘no-work no-pay’ and therefore not entitled to their salary during the period of the strike.
They also want the court to determine whether members of the union are entitled to continue to retain their employment, having abandoned their work in the universities, and whether or not the union complied with the mandatory provisions of sections 4 and 5 of the Trade Dispute Act CAP T8 LFN 2004 before embarking on the strike.
Also, the court was asked to determine whether or not the Minister of Education is not entitled to determine the employment of the members of the union since they have abandoned their work in the universities.
In addition, the plaintiffs want the court to declare that the strike action embarked upon by ASUU since July 2, 2013, is illegal, unconstitutional, and null and void; they also want the court to declare that the strike action is unlawful and unwarranted in the face of the payment of over N50bn to the union by Federal Government.