Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Thursday urged labour unions in the country to stop using strikes to settle trade disputes between them and their employers.
The governor explained that the measure usually affects productivity and employment drives of government.
The governor spoke during the celebration of the 2014 Workers’ Day in Onikan, Lagos, which was almost disrupted as students and employees of the Lagos State University, and some civil society groups protested against the continued hike in LASU tuition.
Fashola commended the Nigerian workers for their contributions to nation building, saying they were the engine of the nation’s development.
He said, “You must use the opportunity of the Workers’ Day anniversary to see how you can help to further move the country forward rather than staging protests and strikes.
“So for me, there is nothing offensive to me about strikes, what I have advocated year after year is that the power to strike is a very potent weapon and it must be used very sparingly and discretionarily and if you use it everyday, after a while, it would lose its efficacy. Ultimately, all of us will suffer.”
However, those protesting LASU’s exorbitant fees chanted anti-government slogans and displayed placards with inscriptions condemning the high fees of the school.
The situation caused intermittent stops as policemen struggled to bring the protesters under control.
Some of the protesters tried to force their way into the state box, where Fashola and other guests were sitting.
Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities, LASU chapter, Dr Adekunle Idris, said the protest was to bring the problems of LASU to the public.
He said, “We are not here to celebrate because there is no cause for that. We cannot celebrate when our students pay exorbitant fees – the school fees that range between N197,000 and N300,0o0.We believe it is anti-people.
“Also, we are not happy with the issue of premature retirement of professors at LASU and the poor career growth in the form of slow promotion of staff .”
Idris urged the state government to take urgent steps to address some of the issues at LASU in order to save the institution from collapse.