The strike action embarked upon by university lecturers has assumed another dimension as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been dragged before the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) over the lingering strike action.
The suit, with the number NICW/Abj/242/2013 which also has ministers of labour and productivity, education, finance and justice, as well as secretary to the government of the federation as defendants, was instituted by the registered trustees of Golden Women of Integrity and Vision Association and Mrs. Florence Uche Ojieh.
In the suit, the claimants are asking the court to determine whether the strike action embarked upon by ASUU is not illegal and contrary to law and whether members of the union are not bound by the policy of ‘no work no pay’ and therefore not entitled to their salary during the period of the strike.
They also asked the court to determine whether members of ASUU are entitled to continue to retain their employment, having abandoned or deemed to have abandoned their work in the universities; whether or not the union complied with the mandatory provisions of Section 4 and 5 of the Trade Dispute Act CAP T8 LFN 2004 before embarking on the strike; whether the union has complied with the provision of Section 8 of the Trade Disputes Act CAP T8 LFN 2004; whether or not the minister of education is not entitled to determine the employment of the union, same having abandoned or deemed to have abandoned their work in their universities and whether or not the doctrine of collective bargain or the purported 2009 agreement can be the basis for the strike action by ASUU same not having been incorporated in their contract of employment between it and the federal government.
The reliefs sought by the claimants include a declaration that the strike action embarked upon by ASUU since July 2, 2013 is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
The claimants also sought a declaration of court that the strike action is unlawful and unwarranted in the face of the payment to the union by federal government of over N50 billion to meet ASUU’s demands from the government.
Other reliefs are an order of mandatory injunction directing the union to go back to work immediately and unconditionally; an order directing the union to return or refund all monies paid to it by the federal government in error or otherwise; an order directing ASUU to return to the negotiation table and a declaration that the strike action is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
Others are an order directing ASUU to refund all monies paid to its members as salaries, wages and allowances during the strike action; an order enforcing the no work no pay rule on the union; a declaration that the condition precedent to protest and or strike as provided by the Trade Dispute Act Cap T8 LFN 2004 has not been fulfilled; an order declaring the agreement on which the strike action is based as an extra-legal document which have no force of law; an order declaring any step taken or any further step to be taken in relation to the industrial action by ASUU, agents, privies, assignors, sympathizers, successors or any person whatsoever by whatever name so-called as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional and an interim order restraining any other trade union and association from joining, participating and aligning with the ASUU strike.