LABOUR AND CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION (LASCO)
LABOUR AND CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION (LASCO)
LASCO Declares SOLIDARITY ACTION for ASUU-SSANU-NAAT-NASU-ASUP-SSANIP-SSUCOEN-COEASU
Being text of the Press Conference held in Lagos, December 13, 2010
This joint-press briefing has been called by the Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) in collaboration with the leadership of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising eight unions involved in the on-going strike in tertiary institutions in Lagos State. It is meant to:
i. Declare the support of LASCO for the striking workers;
ii. Update the general public on the true state of “talks” with the Lagos State Government; and
iii. Inform Nigerians and international community of the declaration of a DAY OF SOLIDARITY ACTION with the striking workers.
1. LASCO DECLARES TOTAL SUPPORT FOR THE STRIKING WORKERS
On November 8th 2010, the general meeting of the Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) held at the Nigeria Labour Congress Lagos Headquarters in Yaba to deliberate on the NLC-TUC declared 3-Day Warning Strike (November 10 â€“ 12) for the implementation of the N18,000 new minimum wage; also considered the ongoing strike by unions in tertiary institutions in Lagos State, which was 5 weeks old then. The meeting:
- Deplores the cantankerous posture of the Lagos State Government, particularly on issues that bothers on the welfare of workers, citing its contemptuous treatment of the demands by medical doctors in its services that were also on strike then; and
- Resolved that LASCO should declare a DAY OF SOLIDARITY ACTION with the striking workers.
2. THE TRUE STATE OF “TALKS” BETWEEN THE LAGOS GOVERNMENT AND THE STRIKING WORKERS
The striking workers in Lagos State owned tertiary institutions (LASU, LASPOTECH, AOCOED, & MOCPED) comprising eight unions (ASUU, SSANU, NAAT, NASU, ASUP, SSANIP, SSUCOEN & COEASU) served the Lagos State Government ultimate after which an indefinite strike action was commenced on 30th September for its failure to reverse its neglect of tertiary institutions in the state and total disregard to the implementation of collective agreements reached with the aforementioned unions at the federal level since 2009. The 20th September ultimatum was the third and final of such that the striking unions gave the Lagos State Government; that till date remained insincere and insensitive to the implementation of the collective agreements.
The last meeting the unions had with Governor Fashola was on Tuesday, December 7th where he reduced the issue of collective agreements to his misguided, ill-informed and distorted perspective of true federalism; and arrogantly pronounced a 25% salary increase for workers in Lagos State.
The basic issues in all the collective agreements and demands by the striking unions is not merely about wage increase (which they legitimately deserved) but about a conducive and secured work environment encapsulated in: adequate funding of tertiary institutions, improved conditions of service, and autonomy in the administration of the institutions.
We must also add that Governor Fashola by this pronouncement is already scheming to deadlock the implementation of the new Minimum Wage by offering to workers on 01-06 grade level 55% and 07 and above 25%; thereby purportedly acting on a fictitious World Bank directives that personnel cost must not exceed 35% of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
For instance, the direct impact of the neglect of tertiary education by the Governor Fashola administration was exposed recently by the results of the June 2010 Accreditation Exercise of LASU where the Law Faculty failed to pass the accreditation. The result revealed thus: total number of programmes accredited â€“ 14, number with full accredited status â€“ 4 (28.6%), number with interim accredited status â€“ 9 (64.3%), number with denied accredited status â€“ 1 (7.1%). Even the 9 programmes with interim accredited status were denied accreditation because it was the second time that they were being accorded such, with implication for NO ADMISSION INTO THE COURSES IN 2011/12 ACADEMIC YEAR.
What Governor Fashola may be counting on as a SAN is the clause on “Benchmark for the university System” in the collective agreements which read: “whereas the agreement is directed towards ensuring that there is a viable university system with one, rather than a multiple set of academic standards; and whereas it is recognized by the Negotiating Teams that education is on the Concurrent List and by this Agreement, the Federal Government does not intend to and shall not compel the State Governments to implement the provisions of the Agreement in respect of their universities, it is however recognized that the State Governments shall be encouraged to adopt this Agreement, as benchmarks, if they are to operate within the goals of achieving the same sets of academic standards for their institutions within Nigeria’s university system”.
However, later day apostle of true federalism such as Governor Fashola should know that the above quoted paragraph is only one side of the issue; the other and key factor is that Labour matter is on the exclusive legislative list in the 1999 Constitution, and as such collective agreements reached at Federal level is binding on all states. Moreso, none of the Governors in particular, Governor Fashola has rejected the pay and allowances approved at the Federal level by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission, which rewarded all elected and appointed office holders across the country with jumbo pay packages.
What the Nigerian public and international community must know is that the collective agreements have been fully implemented in all tertiary institutions in the country with the exception of Lagos and Ogun States. Even the Governments in the geo-political East Nigeria that were recalcitrant on the issue of the same collective agreements have conceded to the demands of the unions to start full compliance effective January 2011.
3. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2010 IS DAY OF SOLIDARITY ACTION
The Rally/Procession we are kick-starting on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 @ Nigeria Civil Service Union Secretariat, near Chapel of Christ, Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos @ 8.30m prompt is just the phase one of our resolve to back up the demands of the aforementioned unions in education sectors to avert the collapsing state of higher education in the State. We urge workers, students, parents and the general public to discountenance the arrogance of Governor Fashola administration and join forces with the striking workers until their demands are met.
Governor Fashola is hereby advised to seek the path of reason by implementing collective agreements already reached with the various unions at the federal level. The just concluded 14-weeks long strike by medical doctors ought to be enough lessons to the Lagos State Government to stop dragging the state into avoidable industrial crisis
Governor Fashola is advised to avoid testing our resolve to make Lagos ungovernable for him. We are resolved at LASCO to mobilize workers, students, parents and general public on a sustained programme of Mass Action/Strike until the Lagos Government accedes to collective agreements reached with the unions.
THE STRUGGLE HAS JUST BEGUN
Comrade ABIODUN AREMU (Joint-Secretary, LASCO)
ASUU (LASU) – Dr. Kabir O. Akinyemi
SSANU (LASU) – Ms. Funmi Sessi
NAAT (LASU) â€“ Mr. Adenuga
NASU (LASU) – Comrade L.A Oluwa
ASUP (LASPOTECH) â€“ Arowolo Olatunji
SSANIP (LASPOTECH) â€“ Comrade Tairu H. Bodunrin
NASU (LASPOTECH) â€“ Comrade Ogungbayibi Adedayo
COEASU (AOCOED) â€“ Adeyemi Adesanya
SSUCOEN (AOCOED) â€“ Ayeni Adeyemi
NASU (AOCOED) – Femi Adebayo
COEASU (MOCPED) â€“ Francis Yede
SSUCOEN (MOCPED) â€“ Comrade Ajetunmobi
NASU (MOCPED) – Balogun Adesina
 LASU â€“ Lagos State University
LASPOTECH â€“ Lagos State Polytechnic
AOCOED â€“ Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education
MOCPED â€“ Michael Otedola College of Primary Education
 ASUU – Academic Staff Union of Universities
SSANU – Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities
NAAT – National Association of Academic Technologists
NASU – Non-Academic Staff Union
ASUP – Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics
SSANIP – Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics
SSUCOEN â€“ Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education of Nigeria
COEASU â€“ Colleges of Education Staff Union