The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, says he will be surprised if the National Labour Congress (NLC) goes ahead with the planned protest.
Speaking with journalists on Wednesday, Ngige said it is against international labour practice for the congress to embark on such a protest, adding that the NLC has representatives on the negotiation with ASUU and that the congress is privy to all discussions with the university lecturers’ union.
The minister said: “It is a very incongruous situation I must tell you. Why? NLC is on the table of the discussion. They are there. I invited them as the head of the federation to which ASUU belongs, to which SSANU belongs, to which NAAT belongs.
“I invited them. And so, they are on the table as their senior partner. That’s one. Two, we have a National Labour Advisory Council inaugurated in January 2021. It is an ILO instrument, an ILO architecture for labour unions, governments, and the private sector to come together at any given time.
“So, we’ve just finished our meeting in March, and this issue was tabled before them. And the NLC is in NLAC, the National Labour Advisory Council, and much more importantly, the head of NLC, Nigeria, has an affiliate of workers federation, worldover called International Trade Union Congress.
“So, I will be surprised if he’s going ahead with his NEC to do a demonstration, knowing fully well that that is not permissible in international labour parlance.”
The NLC had threatened to go on a two-day protest on July 26 and 27 in solidarity with the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
ASUU had been on strike since February 14, with parties involved running into gridlock over issues bordering on funding universities, as well as on salaries and allowances of lecturers.