CONUA is urging the federal government to include ASUU members in the resolution of unpaid salaries, in the interest of maintaining stability in the university system. This request comes after the government announced plans to pay CONUA members for arrears of salaries that were withheld due to the “no work, no pay” policy implemented during ASUU’s nine-month strike.
Dr. Niyi Sunmonu, President of CONUA, stated during a recent National Executive Council meeting held at Obafemi Awolowo University that CONUA members have the right to be compensated for the time period of the strike, as per the country’s labor laws, as they did not take any industrial action like ASUU did. He also mentioned that CONUA recently received a letter from the federal government requesting the submission of a list of CONUA members and other necessary information regarding the payment of outstanding salaries and check-up dues.
CONUA welcomes the recent development of the federal government’s plan to compensate its members for the time period of the strike, as the organization has previously stated that it did not declare any strike. According to the provisions of section 43 subsection 1B of the trade dispute act, the situation of CONUA members can be considered as a lockout. The government’s implementation of a “no work no pay” policy is unjust, as CONUA members were willing to work and the students they needed to teach were asked to vacate the university campus.
“Therefore, it would be unfair for the government to apply its “no work no pay” policy to CONUA members, as we did not declare a strike and were willing to work. We have consistently communicated this through letters to various government departments and insist that we did not participate in any strike action.”
“In regards to the potential for a new crisis, we do not believe it will escalate as long as the other union presents their case to the government or the court. Our only course of action at this point is to appeal to the federal government to be fair and compensate all parties involved. However, on principle, CONUA did not declare a strike and it would be unjust to apply the “no work no pay” policy to our members.”
When asked about the accusation that CONUA was created by the government to counter ASUU, Dr. Sunmonu dismissed the claim as unfounded and stated that the union was formed with the goal of ensuring a stable academic calendar in the country’s university system. He also added that it is not the responsibility of ASUU, which is not a government institution, to recognize or acknowledge other trade unions. CONUA’s main objective is to promote an uninterrupted academic calendar.
“I have stated this repeatedly, we are not ignoring the issues in the universities and we do not claim that the government’s actions are the best for our institutions, but through constructive engagement, we can work towards finding solutions that will lead to an uninterrupted academic calendar and improve the welfare of academics, without sinking the boat.”
“For CONUA, the question of recognition or the idea that it is intended to disrupt another union is not relevant. CONUA was founded on strong ideologies stemming from blatant disregard for the constitution and the principle that those who seek justice must have clean hands. If the goal is to address government shortcomings, one must ensure that internal issues are resolved first.
These allegations are distractions, our focus remains on our union and the ideologies we believe in, and we will work towards achieving them.”
Source: Vanguard News