The Academic Staff Union of Universities is set to meet with the Minister of Labour and Employment to find a lasting solution to the indefinite strike that was embarked on by the Union few days ago.
According to a Statement by the Deputy Director of Press to the Ministry of Labour, Mr Samuel Olowookere, the decision to resume the meeting was taken on Tuesday after the meeting between the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and leadership of Labour Union at the Minister’s Conference room.
The Federal Government has already admitted that it had failed in negotiating with the Union which has now given birth to the indefinite strike that was embarked on.
Speaking after the Federal Executive Council meeting which was presided by the Acting-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Education said
“very sad I am here and ASUU is on strike. Late last year, we had a meeting because ASUU gave one week notice of strike and we were able to work out some agreement. I must confess government has not fulfilled its part of the bargain.”
He further explained that the government is doing everything within is power to work things out with the Union so that the strike can be called off as soon as possible.
“Even though we are unhappy that ASUU went on this strike without following due process and giving us good notice, the lecturers took the decision to declare the strike after deliberations at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the University of Abuja last weekend.”
ASUU last went on strike in 2013 due to the dishonouring of the agreement they had with the Federal Government in 2009.
Issues in the agreement are
Memorandum of Understanding for the 2009 FG/ASSU Agreement on the financing of state universities
Breach of condition of service
Refusal to honour the Earned Academic Allowance and
Re-negotiation of the agreement.
The Federal government ‘foot-dragging’ over funds for the revitalization of public universities
Non-release of National University Pension Management Company. (NUPEMCO) operational license.
Non-payment of earned academic allowance
Non-payment of salaries and allowance for retired professors and university staff schools.
On the issue of earned allowance, the Minister reiterates that there were communication differences that stalled the allowance.
“They have been paid N30billion, the problem actually arose because they were not able to account for the N30billion and we said we would only give them the balance if they were able to account for it and the balance is N23billion, the total is N53 billion and government has the money to pay.” He said.
On the issue of registration for Nigerian Universities Pension Commission, the Minister who was joined by his counterpart in Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said there were a few issues that needed to be sorted out with the commission, just as he assured “there will be no problem with that”.
“The issue of their staff school, I think the court has given them verdict to go ahead with it. They have requested that they should be allowed to stay off the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and I think government will not do this, but there are some peculiar funds in the university, like endowment, which are monies kept and all the interest they generate, prices and so on are given.
“I will be meeting them later today (Wednesday) or tomorrow (today, Thursday) and I am sure we will be able to reach some agreement so that the strike will be called off as soon as possible. I am sure you are aware of the issues we agreed on, there is re-negotiation which is the only one on which they agreed government has done what it promised because we set up the re-negotiation team and negotiation is already ongoing.”