The National Industrial Court on Tuesday declared that the Federal Government position of ‘ no work no pay” against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), is legal.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Benedict Kanyip declared that ASUU was not entitled to salary during the period it embarked on strike.
The Court in addition held that in line with section 43(1a) of the Trade Dispute Act (TDA) ASUU members who participated in the eight months strike were not entitled to salaries.
“Although employers and workers can enter an agreement, for which the workers will be paid during the period of a strike action, when such agreement was not made, no worker is expected to get paid.”
Kanyip declared that the federal government and Minister of Education who were the claimants in the suit were wrong to pray for the court to impose sanctions on ASUU for embarking on a peaceful strike.
The judge termed it as a gross violation to their right to freedom of association as stipulated by International Labour Organisation’s ( ILO) jurisprudence.
“There is nothing before the court to prove that ASUU was not peaceful during the strike”
“No employee should be victimised or sanctioned for embarking on peaceful strike,” the court ruled.
The court also held that the claimants cannot force ASUU to accept payment of its members salaries through Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) so long as they confirm to their budgetary allocation.
The court clarified that because of university’s autonomy, the claimant’s submission that ASUU’s payment platform system failed integrity test it was subjected to by NITDA, was mere hearsay
The court also held that in line with section 18 of the TDA , no employer shall embark on lockout and no worker shall embark on an industrial action when trade dispute is apprehended and a reconciliation is on going.
Section 43(2) of the trade dispute act , which gives sole powers to the Minister to determine if there has been a lockout by an employer, falls contrary to section 6 of 1999 constitution as amended
“The determination of a lockout is for the court to decide and not for the executive arm of the government”
Kanyip concluded that with regards to the declaration one sought by the claimants, the court ruled that since the strike had been called off on the order of the same court, it would not go beyond the ruling of the presiding judge’s ruling.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that claimants in the suit had dragged ASUU before the court to determine the substantive suit filed during ASUU’s eight month strike 2022.
The claimants had also sought for interpretation and application of some TDA formulated through six questions, six reliefs and six determinations.