The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has said that he has done what many cannot do to forestall strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
Senator Ngige also dismissed insinuations that he is responsible for the ongoing action by the union, saying that his work was only to conciliate and not to implement agreements reached.
Speaking on a Silver Bird Television Live Interview Programme, the Minister said he has successfully conciliated 1683 industrial disputes since assumption of office in 2015, and has been taking extra measures beyond his statutory responsibilities, to forestall strike and ensure action is promptly suspended when workers unions make it inevitable.
Ngige also said the untiring efforts of his office towards peaceful national industrial milieu , sleepless nights as a parent whose children are also in the public universities and who equally bear the brunt of ASUU strike, are being undermined by an erroneous impression by some Nigerians over his role as a conciliator, and by the uncooperative, anti-labour attitude of ASUU leadership.
The Minister insisted that the role of the Minister of Labour is to conciliate disputes and does not include the implementation of agreements so reached with parties.
“However, when conciliation fails, the Minister is under obligation by section 9 and 14 of Trade Disputes Act, Cap T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria to transmit the results of the negotiation to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) or to National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).