The Federal Government has threatened to halt the salaries of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) over their recent indefinite strike action.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige, issued the threat during a meeting with the unions. He said the federal government might be forced to invoke Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act 2004 which permits it to stop the salaries of workers when they are on strike.
Ngige further maintained that it would be their next action should members of the non-academic staff unions fail to observe the rules guiding social dialogue.
“You asked for an adjournment, we gave an adjournment and you used the period of adjournment to go on full-blown strike. This is not social dialoguing.
“It is against ILO statutes. The ILO statute says you have a right to go on strike and your employer has a right not to pay you and use the same money to keep the enterprise going.
“We are permitted by Law to stop payment of wages during the period of the strike. It is in the labour laws.
“That is why I am insistent that no matter what happens today, I must do this conciliation with you.
“But if you come here for conciliation, don’t take me for a ride. Don’t take the conciliator for a ride at any level because we don’t have judicial powers like IAP or NIC.
“At our last meeting we had a 7-point agenda, we discussed two of them and you asked for an adjournment to come back to the negotiation table.
“That adjournment is not a period for you to go on strike. I want us to finish the rest if you wish. If you don’t wish, then I refer you to IAP or NIC,” he said.