The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said that an end to the crisis in the education sector can only be achieved if the Federal Government embraces collective bargaining agreement reached by the government and concerned parties.
This was the position of the President, Nigerian Labour Congress, Mr. Ayuba Wabba. Wabba gave the advice in Abuja when he led a delegation to the National Secretariat of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) over labour issues.
He said, “Agreements are made to be sacrosanct and respected. Where we don’t respect collective agreements that are willingly entered into, that is a recipe for chaos.That is one issue that has affected our educational system.”
The labour leader stressed that policy makers must respect the contents of any agreement they signed, to permanently address the challenges in the educational system.
Wabba also decried the lack of respect for judicial pronouncements by parties, especially in cases referred to court for judicial interpretation.
“We must continue to respect our courts because that is the foundation of the rule of law. Rule of law entails that you respect court pronouncements whether they are palatable or not,’’ he said.
He called on the Federal Government to implement the pronouncement of the National Industrial Court with respect to the dispute concerning university staff schools.
He said,“We will take up this matter with the Attorney-General of the Federation, as well as the Minister of Education.”
Waba also decried the decline in quantity and quality of facilities and infrastructure in the universities.
The NLC president condemned alleged exploitation in the private universities whereby workers were subjected to all manner of indecency concerning industrial relations.
He said that the private universities were integral part of the university system and their workers should be allowed to be members of trade unions, adding that,“It is a fundamental right which our constitution recognises.”
“The Constitution says that a worker has a right to form and belong to a trade union for the purpose of protecting his rights and interest.
“We are seeing private universities coming up almost on a daily basis; and I think it will make a lot of good for all of us if we are able to unionise their workers,’’ ‘he said.
Earlier, President of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Mr. Samson Ugokwe, called on the NLC to intervene in the judgment of the National Industrial Court regarding the status of University Demonstration Schools in the country so as to settle the matter in the interest of the workers.