The national leadership of the Academic Staff Union Polytechnics says the governing council of Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki in Oyo State lacks the power to suspend activities of the union in the institution.
This is contained in a statement signed by its Zonal Coordinator, Olawale Omobaorun, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Friday.
Recall that the governing council of the institution had in a communique issued on Thursday in Ibadan, suspended the activities of ASUP in the institution.
The council also directed the striking academic staff of the institution to resume work on Monday, Sept. 10 or risk losing their jobs.
The ASUP, however, said the council lacks the right or permission to cancel the registration of the union as issued in their communique on Thursday.
It said: “Our attention has been drawn to the purported suspension of activities of our great union at The Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki, by the governing Council of the Institution on the ground of their legitimate agitation.
“Our agitation is for better conditions of service for our members, especially the demand for regular payment of 100% salary and payment of backlog of arrears of 11 months.
“With the greatest of respect to the Council, may we state categorically and unequivocally that the council lacks the right or power to cancel the registration of our great union by suspension at the Institution.”
The Union stated that the fundamental reason was that ASUP was duly registered pursuant to the trade unions Act.
It said that existence of the union is not at the behest, command, order, permission or benevolence of any council or management.
The union said it relied solely on the statute and Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria under which it is duly registered.
ASUP said: “We hold that the decision of the Council to suspend the activities of the union in the Institution is unconstitutional and illegal.
“The right of association under section 40 of the constitution, including the right of unionism, can only be taken away only in the ways recognised by the same constitution.
“We therefore reject the purported suspension of the activities of Academic Staff Union in the Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki.
“We hope for good understanding and cooperation of the Governing Council and Management of the institution in the interest of better industrial harmony.”
Recall that activities of Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics and Non- Academic Staff Union both of Ibarapa Polytechnic in Eruwa in the state had also been suspended by their governing council.
The two unions had in a letter written through their lawyer, Femi Aborisade, to the governing council, also declared the suspension as illegal and unconstitutional.