THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has officially filed an appeal against the National Industrial Court (NIC) ruling directing its members to suspend its eight-month-old strike.
A report by the Punch says ASUU’s lawyer, Femi Falana, confirmed the appeal.
The appeal comes when the universities and students affected by the strike are picking up from where the strike disrupted their activities.
On October 14, ASUU suspended the strike it declared on February 14 because of unmet demands by the Federal Government in compliance with the Appeal Court order upholding the NIC verdict, which mandated the union to suspend the action.
The three-member panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Hamma Barka dismissed ASUU’s application for a stay of execution on the NIC ruling.
But it gave the lecturers seven days to file their appeal, during which they must have resumed work.
The Federal Government had dragged ASUU to the NIC because of the lingering strike.
Dissatisfied with the court ruling, the union engaged Femi Falana, who filed 14 grounds of appeal, including a stay of execution of the ruling, on behalf of the lecturers on Friday, September 26.
Apart from the appeal court ruling, the union also said it suspended the strike because of the interventions of President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Gbajabiamila-led House of Representatives, and other eminent Nigerians who mediated in the crisis.
However, the union claimed the government was yet to meet its demands fully.
The ICIR reports that while presenting the 2023 budget to the National Assembly in Abuja on October 7, President Buhari said the government earmarked N470 billion for the revitalization and salary improvement in the nation’s public tertiary institutions.
But it is unclear if the federal government will pay the eight-month salaries backlog covering the period the ASUU strike lasted. Payment of the backlog was one of the reasons the strike dragged because the government had vowed not to pay.
A major twist to ASUU’s appeal is the possibility of the union downing tools again if the appeal favours it and the government fails to meet its demands.
Some of ASUU demands are: funding for the revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowances, stopping the proliferation of public universities, replacement of the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS) with Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement between the government and the union.