National President, Emmanuel Osodeke of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) said that it called off its eight-month strike because of the court verdict.
A court of appeal had ordered the striking lecturers to return to class after the National Industrial Court ruled against the union in a case brought to it by the Federal Goverment. Days after the appeal court judgement, ASUU called off the strike and ordered members to resume lectures.
But the union’s , said the decision was not because issues brought by the lecturers were fully addressed.
“As you have seen from our press release – although they were interventions by the Speaker (Femi Gbajabiamila) and others – the major reason we are resuming is because we are obeying the industrial court’s judgement. The issues have not been fully resolved and no agreements signed,” he said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
“We are resuming because we are a law-abiding organisation and we don’t want to break the law. We are also hoping that the intervention of the Speaker as promised by him will resolve this problem within a very short time. So, the issues have not been resolved but we would resume because of that court injunction.”
Osodeke, who blamed the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, for taking the matter to court, argued that the best way to tackle trade disputes involving academics is “negotiation”.
“But one of the ministers, the Minister of Labour, believes that the best way is to force them to class. But because of the interest of the Nigerian people – the students, their parents, and the Speaker who is intervening – our members will teach”.
He, however, said the lecturers may be unmotivated going back to class if the “no-work, no-pay” policy of the Federal Government stands, maintaining that “you cannot expect a hungry man” to be at his best.
To avoid this, Osodeke said the government “should pay the salaries” to the varsity teachers whom he added have to “meet up” with the backlog of classes missed during the strike.