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Why ASUU should not be allowed to embark on another industrial action

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Why ASUU should not be allowed to embark on another industrial action

 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has issued a three-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to address all issues in the December 2020 Agreement.

ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, stated this on Monday while addressing journalists in Abuja.

He warned that the union might be compelled to embark on another nationwide industrial action should the government fail to implement the Memorandum of Action signed with ASUU prior to the suspension of the last industrial action.

According to the ASUU President, all the issues, including those of unpaid academic earned allowances and the universities revitalization fund have not been addressed almost one year after an agreement was reached.

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Industrial action is any measure taken by Trade Unions or other Organized Labour meant to reduce productivity in a workplace. Quite often, it is used and interpreted as a euphemism for strike, or mass strike, but the scope is much wider.

Industrial action may take place in the context of a labour dispute or may be meant to effect political or social change.

In recent times, the nation’s public universities had embarked on industrial action in order to press home their demands. Taking from the most recent ones, in 2013, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, embarked on an over seven-month old nationwide strike. Similarly, in 2015, just before the general elections, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Benue State University Chapter, ASUU-BSU, embarked on almost a five-month old strike, which was a colossal delay of destinies of the students. In 2018, Academic Staff Union of Universities embarked on another long strike, which forced students to stay back at home doing nothing. Then in 2020, just before the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic, ASUU embarked on another strike again which lingered simultaneously with the COVID-19 lockdown.

Just as the old saying that goes, “when two elephants engage in a physical combat, it is the grasses that suffer”. This implies that, students are always at the receiving end of any industrial action that occurs. This will force the students to go stay at home and await government’s response that would end the strike.

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At this time, so many male students will be exposed to all sorts of social vices such as gambling, cultism, armed robbery to mention but a few which would be a threat to the nation’s economy and the society at large. Some of the female students might go into prostitution that may even cause them their lives or pre-mature parenting through unwanted pregnancy, which in a normal circumstances would have been averted if they were in school.

Another disturbing consequence of industrial action is the stagnation of academic calendar, which would thwart or delay the destinies of these students.

It is against these backdrops that I call on the stakeholders to synergize with government by going into a peaceful dialogue with ASUU with the view to averting any intending industrial action for a smooth running of academic calendar in the country’s public tertiary institutions.

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