No university lecturer has been paid since February, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) said yesterday.
Its President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, accused the Federal Government of using hunger as a tool to force the striking lecturers back to work.
He spoke while featuring on Channels Sunrise Daily.
ASUU embarked on strike on February 14 over the alleged failure of the Federal Government to fully implement the Memorandum of Action signed in 2020.
On March 27, the government invoked the ‘no work, no pay’ policy in line with Section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act.
Osodeke said the government’s strong-arm tactic would not work.
According to him, the Federal Government was wrong in thinking that depriving the lecturers of their salaries would force them back to the classrooms.
Osodeke said: “Our salaries have been withheld. This is the sixth month our salaries have been withheld.
“They thought that if they hold our salaries for two or three months we will come begging and say ‘please allow us to go back to work’.
“But as a union of intellectuals, we have grown beyond that. You can’t use the force of hunger to pull our members back, which is exactly what the government is doing.”
Also yesterday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the government was waiting for the report of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on the ASUU strike.
Ngige spoke with reporters during the Joint Workshop on International Labour Standards and Dispute Resolutions, organised by the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), in Abuja.
He said: “We are waiting for the Minister of Education to brief the government side. He (Adamu) has not done so.”
On the alleged disparity in the Nimi Briggs Committee, Ngige said: “It is a local education committee. They won’t submit (their report) to me because I didn’t set them up.
“The Minister of Education set up the committee and such a committee will have the input of government technical advisers.
“Because the issues are of wages, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment will be there as an observer.
“We are the only observers to be sure that things are working well in the methods, and spirit of collective bargaining to produce an agreement.”