The Congress of University Academics, CONUA, has called on the Federal Government to without further delay, register and recognise it as an academic staff union in the university system in the country.
This, the union said has become necessary as it has met all conditions required for it to be so registered.
The National Coordinator, Dr Niyi Sunmonu, who said this during a chat with Vanguard yesterday, opined that there was no condition yet to be fulfilled by the union for it to be registered.
“Some days ago, the Minister of State for Labour, Mr Festus Keyamo, SAN, said publicly that CONUA has met all requirements for it to be registered as a trade union, but we don’t know what is still delaying that. There is always the need to look at issues from more than one perspective, moreover, we operate in and academic environment.
“Look at it this way, when the GSM revolution started in the country, the pioneers said per second billing was impossible but another operator came and started per second billing, every other operator joined and the society has become better for it. We all know that there is freedom of association in the country as enshrined in the Constitution.
“In the university, when someone is defending his final project, he faces an audience who would look at his work in different perspectives. That is intended to make things better. We don’t want to believe that the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, are behind this reluctance on the part of the government,” he stated.
Sunmonu also denied insinuations that the government wants to use his group to destabilise ASUU.
”We were members of ASUU before some issues came up in 2016 at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and when justice was not done and majority of members felt it was a deviation from what a union should stand for, CONUA eventually came up in 2018. That was two years when the leadership of ASUU failed to do the right thing and since 2018 that we have applied for registration, government has not done the needful. If they are using us to sabotage anything, what would it cost them to have registered us since then? He asked.
On the contentious Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System, IPPIS, he said before its advent, a software was being used as the payment platform in the university system.
“Whether it is IPPIS or any other thing, a software is a software and will be operated by people. The most important thing is who are those to operate it? If bad, corrupt and evil minded people are in charge, they will mess up everything, no matter how good the software is, but if good people are in charge, there is not going to be any problem, ” he explained.
On the incessant industrial actions by university workers, Sunmonu noted that while workers have the right to go on strike, other options were also available.
To curb the issue of any party to an agreement reneging on such, he suggested that such agreement be subjected to legal process or even legislative backing.
“If there is an agreement to be made between the workers and employers, it should be made to pass through legal process and if it government that is one of the parties like we have now, the National Assembly can back it up with a law, so that if one party wants to renege, the law would be invoked,” he stated.
On the strength of his union, the CONUA boss said it now has presence in over 12 universities, adding that more would soon join.