Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, University of Calabar branch, Dr. Edor J. Edor has said that the union has always embarked on an industrial action for the general interest of critical stakeholders. He expressed worries that Nigerians always misunderstand AUU whenever they embark on strike.
Edor made this known during an interview with TNN where he said the union was still on strike as they have not held any meeting with the federal government since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
He added that the federal government was never ready for the resumption of schools in the country following the way they were handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Very often, ASUU struggles are misunderstood because in the education sector, there are critical stakeholders like the parents, students, school management, religious leaders, media practitioners, the teachers, lecturers and the general populace is all stakeholders.
“And it is only important that all these stakeholders should, as much as possible, appreciate the reason why a particular group of staff in the university will proceed on industrial action.
“In the case of ASUU, some people have said that it is unheard of in any part of the world that the employee should detect to the employer how he or she should be paid and I think they would rather prefer to hear that the employer can decide to use any means whatsoever to pay the employee, that in itself is also wrong. In industrial and labour relations law, the employer does not even have the right to use whatsoever means to pay an employee.
“The employer for example can say that your salary is hundred thousand and he wants to pay you with coins since coins are still permissible in Nigeria as a currency and every month he brings a truck load of coins to you just because he is your employer and you cannot say anything. People have failed to understand the concept of industrial democracy. People have failed to appreciate the concept of collective bargaining.
“Collective bargaining means the employer and the employee meet and bargain and agree on how certain things should be done,” he explained, adding that the relationship between the employer and the employee was not a slave-master relationship.
He stressed that ASUU was embarking on strike actions to demand not just their rights, but that of the entire education sector in the country. “We are proceeding on all of these industrial actions to redeem the soul of education in Nigeria. You must have heard the stint in one or two tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
“If we have good lecture theatres, if we sufficient lecturers, if we have good libraries, we are not saying world class libraries because we don’t have what it takes to provide that; we are saying, give us libraries that are that are a little below average since we can’t even come to average, not world class libraries. We are not saying give world class laboratories because we don’t have them. We only have probably world class churches. It is a terrible thing”.