Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has said the ‘no work, no pay’ policy by the Federal Government, is not applicable to members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), who are currently on strike.
Falana said the FG acting through the National Universities Commission (NUC), lacks the powers to direct vice-chancellors to seize the salaries and allowances of striking lecturers.
The FG on November 29, directed all vice-chancellors of federal universities, to ensure that members of ASUU who are currently on strike are not paid their salaries.
But Falana has said the government was not properly advised for “resorting to a desperate measure of not paying the workers.”
This was contained in a statement signed by the legal luminary titled: “No work no pay’ policy is not applicable to ASUU” on Sunday.
According to Falana, the federal government referred to “extant rules” to justify the ‘no work, no pay’ policy; a directive anchored on section 43 (1) of the Trade Disputes Act which provides that “any worker who takes part in a strike shall not be entitled to any wages or other remuneration for the period of the strike.
“Otherwise, it would have realised that even under the defunct military junta the application of ‘no work no pay’ rule, threat to eject lecturers living in official quarters, promulgation of a decree which made strike in schools a treasonable offence and the proscription of ASUU did not collapse any of the strikes called by ASUU,” he said.
Falana said the latest strike has complied with the provisions of section 31 (6) of the Trade Disputes (Amendment) Act, 2005.
He said the law does not punish acts which are lawful in any democratic society.
He also stated that section 43(1) of the Trade Disputes Act, cannot be invoked to justify the seizure of the salaries and allowances of members of the ASUU, who have decided to participate in an industrial action that is legal in every material particular.
”For the avoidance of doubt, section 31 (7) of the Trade Disputes Amendment Act provides that anyone who takes part in an illegal strike commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine of N10,000 or six months imprisonment or to both fine and imprisonment,” Falana added.