The striking Academic Staff Union of Universities will today, Friday, September 23, 2022, file an appeal against the ruling of the National Industrial Court (NCI) which directed its members to resume work.
Femi Falana, who is the counsel to the union disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday, September 22, 2022.
Recall, that the ongoing ASUU strike which began Febuary 14, 2022, has grounded academic activities in public varsities for over seven months.
The union is demanding the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
The government had claimed to have addressed most of the union’s demands including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities but said the that the union will not be paid the arrears of the strike period.
ASUU has also insisted on not calling off the lingering strike until the arrears are settled.
Following instance of ASUU not to resume, the federal government, through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige dragged the striking university lecturers before the National Industrial Court (NIC).
But delivering a ruling on the interlocutory injunction filed by the government, on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, Justice Polycarp Hamman restrained ASUU from continuing with the industrial action pending the determination of the suit.
According to the judge, the strike is detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.
But Falana in the interview said, “We are filing the appeal tomorrow (Friday) morning. We just got the certified true copy of the judgment on Thursday. The appeal will be filed first thing Friday morning.”
Meanwhile, the Ebonyi State University’s ASUU Chairman, Ikechukwu Igwenyi, on Thursday, said with the court order, the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari has declared “war” against members of the union.
This was as he pointed out that the “no work, no pay” policy of the government shows the authorities lack an understanding of the nature of the contract between the lecturers and their employees.
“The NIC ordered ASUU to call off the ongoing strike and return to the classroom with empty stomachs and unpaid bills pending the determination of the suit filed against the union by the Federal Government,” he said.