Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other Workers’ Unions in Tertiary Institutions currently on strike to embrace dialogue.
He made the call during the 2022 International Workers’ Day celebration on Sunday in Abuja with the theme, `Labour, Politics and the Quest for Good Governance and Development in Nigeria’’.
ASUU and other unions in the country’s tertiary institutions embarked on a nationwide warning strike to press home their demands for improved welfare and adequate funding of the facilities.
The ASUU demands include the revitalisation of public universities, payment of Earned Academic Allowances, adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a payment platform and payment of promotion arrears, among others.
Osinbajo said the Federal Government was not unmindful of the ongoing strike in public universities and the anxieties of students, their parents and the thoughts of an uncertain future.
He said: “We are not unmindful of the anxieties of our children and their parents who are plagued by thoughts of an uncertain future as they stay home because their universities have been shut by an industrial action.
“I appeal to ASUU and the broader labour community to seek the path of dialogue.”
The vice president, however, noted that disagreement and debate had always been part of the relationship between labour and the government.
He added: “But at all times, we have through dialogue found a path forward. It in this spirit that I call on ASUU to embrace dialogue with the government.
“I call on the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to help facilitate a resolution of this dispute through dialogue.
“I believe that we can find a path forward in good faith. And this is what we will do.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, also urged organised Labour to continue to eliminate actions inimical to the quest for good governance and development in the country.
Ngige appealed to labour to embrace acclaimed institutions of consensus building in times of differing opinions, rather than debilitating actions that lead to complications.
He said such complications include loss of mandays and decreased productivity that threaten the existence of the enterprise and result in job losses.
He, however, frowned at the situation where strikes are always the first option considered by the unions in pressing home their demands.
The minister noted that the rights emanating from employment relationship are reciprocal, adding that government in addition to being the “competent authority‘’ in tripartism, is also an employer,’’ he said.