The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said on Wednesday the Federal Government would continue to negotiate with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) despite the court’s ruling which directed the union to suspend its seven-month-old strike.
Justice Polycarp Hamman of the National Industrial Court had earlier on Wednesday ordered the varsity lecturers to end their strike and return to classrooms.
The judge, who gave the order while on an application filed by the Federal Government, said the strike “has done irreparable damage to the lives of the affected students and the country’s education system.”
He added that the industrial action contravenes the Section 18(1)(2) of the Trade Disputes Act.
Ngige announced the federal government’s position when he hosted visiting members of the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics in Abuja.
He said the court’s ruling was in the best interest of Nigeria and its people.
The minister said: “The court ruling does not preclude us from going on with further negotiation and consultations.
“It is a no victor, no vanquished.
“You doctors in academics are for now members of ASUU, but you are here; even though you have dissociated yourselves and you are working.
“We want to thank you for working and teaching your students.”
Ngige noted that pro-chancellors of universities had met with President Muhammadu Buhari and recommended the review of the government’s offer to the union.
He stressed that the president had promised to consult with stakeholders on the request.
The minister also commended the House of Representatives for intervening in the ASUU imbroglio.
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