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Compensate Students for seven months salary, APC Vice Chairman tells FG

The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Vice Chairman, North-West, Dr. Salihu Lukman, has called on the federal government to compensate students with the seven-month salaries of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Lukman made the call on Wednesday in a statement released while responding to the National Industrial Court’s (NIC) ruling on the seven-month-old ASUU strike.

He said every step must be taken to enforce Judge Polycap Hamman’s ruling and said the past seven months have been traumatic for parents and innocent students.

Lukman noted that everything must be done to immediately end the suffering and hardship caused by the seven-month strike.

The APC chieftain said that if the Labor Department’s arbitration, conciliation and compulsory adjudication proceedings provided for in the Trade Dispute Act were immediately served on the ASUU, a ruling would have been obtained from the Industrial Arbitration Panel and the NIC before the strike began.

Lukman added: “Here we are unfortunately, the same verdict that would have been handed down before the strike began on February 14 will not be issued until some seven months into the strike.”

The APC chief stressed that the debate over whether the government should pay ASUU members for the seven months they were on strike should be handled based on the terms of their employment contracts.

He categorically stated that to do otherwise would be to encourage the ASUU, and by extension other unions, to engage in collective bargaining based on extortion farces and displays of brute force.

Lukman further stated: “The debate over whether the government should pay ASUU members for the seven months they are on strike should be dealt with based on the terms of their employment contract.

“Anything to the contrary will amount to encouraging the ASUU, and by extension other unions, to initiate collective bargaining on the basis of blackmail farces and displays of brute force. This must be discouraged.

“If the government is considering paying at all, it should calculate what ASUU members might have earned during the period and give it to the students as a stipend or as some sort of compensation for the ‘irreparable damage to their careers’ caused by the strike.

“Indeed, ASUU members should voluntarily and willingly accept this as part of fulfilling their charitable function.”

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