ASUU: NLC Rejects CONUA, NAMDA

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The Nigeria Labour Congress has rejected the registration of the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) and the Nigeria Association of Medical and Dental Lecturers in Academics (NAMDA) by the Nigerian government.

NLC said the government violated a labour law by registering the unions because another union already exists in the sector.

Presenting certificates of registration to both unions last week, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said they are to operate alongside ASUU in Nigerian universities.

While Mr Ngige said both unions met the requirements for registration, NLC President Ayuba Wabba said the registration of CONUA and NAMDA contradicts the Trade Union Act, the Nigerian Constitution and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention that the minister claimed to have followed.

Both Messrs Wabba and Ngige cited Section 3(2) of the Trade Union Act to support their stance.

But the minister claimed the same section granted him power to approve the registrations.

“(Section) 3(2) encompasses that you should not register where an association is existing. However, the minister, in his own opinion that the association that is there is no longer discharging performing the functions for the benefits of that community, I can regroup. And that is what I have done,” said Mr Ngige during the presentation of certificates to CONUA and NAMDA.

“Anyone who doesn’t like what I have done can go to court and seek redress,” the minister added.

But in a letter to Mr Ngige, the NLC president stated that the registration of new academic unions was a violation of existing laws.

The NLC, therefore, demanded that the minister withdraw the registration of CONUA and NAMDA.

“We demand that you respect the doctrine of the Rule of law, especially the clear provisions of our labour laws cited and withdraw the Certificate of Registration issued to the two new trade unions,” Mr Wabba wrote in the letter.

He said: “Clearly, from the provisions of Section 3(2) and Sections 5(2), 5(3) and 5(4) (of the Trade Union Act), there is no basis for the purported registration of the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) and the Nigeria Association of Medical and Dental Lecturers in Academics (NAMDA) as both entities failed woefully to satisfy the precedent conditions provided by the Trade Union Act for the registration of trade unions.”

Mr Wabba added that the legitimacy of granting registration certificates to groups in a sector where unions already exist has been tested and affirmed to be a violation.

Section 3(2) of the Trade Union Act states: “No combination of workers or employers shall be registered as a trade union save with the approval of the Minister on his being satisfied that it is expedient to register the union either by regrouping existing trade unions, registering a new trade union or otherwise howsoever ever, but no trade union shall be registered to represent workers or employers in a place where already exists a trade union.” (Text from Premium Times)

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