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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

JUST IN: FG asks for six weeks to decide on ASUU strike

The Federal Government of Nigeria during a meeting with the Federal Government Renegotiation Committee, has pleaded for six weeks to allow the committee in charge of renegotiation concludes its task of redesigning a new agreement with ASUU.

The meeting chaired by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, was aimed at finding a solution to the ongoing ASUU strike. Ngige on behalf of the Federal Government insisted it supports the renegotiation of the welfare package for university workers in line with current realities.

He admitted the government was not pleased with the approach being used by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to pursue its demands.

ASUU embarked on a one-month warning strike on February 14 and extended it by another two months, over the alleged failure of the government to address their demands. The new two months strike is expected to end by May 4, 2022.

Speaking during the meeting, the Minister pleaded with the committee to ensure that it concludes its assignment within six weeks as provided in the Memorandum of Action, MoA, with the unions.

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The Minister also advised the leadership of ASUU to find a better way of pressurizing the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission, NUC, to hasten action on the implementation of agreements reached with the government rather than rushing to strike every time there was a disagreement.

In his words, he said: “I am not Minister of Education. I cannot go to the Education Minister and dictate to him how to run his place. But I told ASUU that you should be bombarding them at the Federal Ministry of Education for this to be moved forward.

“There are many ways to do so. If you go to the labour act, there is something called picketing. You can picket. The strike is an ultimate thing. Picketing means that you can stay in the corridor, clapping or singing. Workers are permitted to do so.

“But I am tired of every time there is a disagreement, it is a strike. And the bosses in the Federal Ministry of Education don’t feel the strike. It is the children and some of us parents that have our children in public schools.”

He added, “Why won’t I support if ASUU and their unions now want a renegotiation of their conditions of service, which is the main thing in the proposal by the previous Committee.”

The Chairman of the 2009 FG and university-based union renegotiation Committee, Prof. Nimi Briggs said his Committee was consulting all the stakeholders with a view to finding an solution to the unending ASUU dispute.

Meanwhile, members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have insisted that there will be no resumption in public universities until the renegotiated 2009 agreement is signed, implemented and the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) deployed.

The ASUU Zonal Coordinator, Dr Salawu Lawal, made this known during a press conference at the University of Abuja in Gwagwalada on Monday. He stated that members of ASUU are ever ready to return to their duty post as soon as their demands are met by the Federal Government.

“The summary is that unless and until the renegotiated 2009 agreement is signed and implemented and UTAS deployed, there will be no work in public universities,” Lawal said.

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