We’ll Resume Strike If…ASUU

We’ll Resume Strike If…ASUU

…Wants FG to Abide by the Reached Agreement Smarting from its protracted strike which has put the nation’s universities under lock for several months, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has warned that it may kick-start another industrial action in no distant time, if the Federal Government fails to abide by the reached agreements.

…Wants FG to Abide by the Reached Agreement

Smarting from its protracted strike which has put the nation’s universities under lock for several months, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has warned that it may kick-start another industrial action in no distant time, if the Federal Government fails to abide by the reached agreements.

ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, hinted while announcing the suspension of its nine-month-old strike, Wednesday.

According to Ogunyemi, the National Executive Council of the union met in Abuja to conditionally suspend the strike action embarked upon on March 23 with effect from 12am on Thursday.

Ogunyemi said, “should government fail to fulfil its own parts of the agreement, ASUU will resume its suspended strike as deemed necessary.

“NEC resolved to accept the agreement reached between ASUU and the Federal Government on December 22 and to also consciously and diligently monitor the implementation of Federal Government-ASUU agreements of December 22 in all branches.

“NEC also resolved to ensure that no ASUU member suffered any loss of deserved benefits as a result of participation in the strike.”

Ogunyemi said that NEC would pursue fervently the areas in the Federal Government-ASUU agreement of 2009 and Memorandum of Action 2013 that required legislation.

He added that such included the mainstreaming of Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) into the annual budget and the Executive Bill in respect of the National Universities Commission Act, 2004.

He said: “Therefore the Implementation Monitoring Committee, which had already been constituted to the satisfaction of government and ASUU, will work diligently to ensure that funds released are used to meet genuine revitalisation needs of Nigerian public universities.

“This is with a strict and disciplined supervision of the implementation processes by the universities themselves.

“To this end the students and their parents would see the fruits of the struggles of ASUU in their lives.

“The union expects the immediate release of EAA (Earned Academic Allowance) as agreed, the mainstreaming of EAA into annual budget using the agreed formula.

“The union also expects government to immediately engage the universities and other research centres in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is one of the challenges that the universities have been asking the government to throw to Nigerian academics.”

He also said the union expects that government and ASUU re-negotiation exercise would be concluded as specified in the timeline agreed by both parties, among others.

“On our part we are going back to rekindle the motivation and aspirations in our members to strive to encourage our students to excel, in all the expectations that government will sincerely fulfil their own part of the bargain.”

The ASUU president also called on government to expedite action on the test processes and ensure the development of University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) for the payment of salaries in the university system.

The software, according to him, will assist Government in its fight against corruption and bring about high stand of accountability in the education sector.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, had earlier revealed that ASUU would call off its strike action in January 2021.

This follows the progress in negotiations between ASUU and the Federal Government, which Ngige said had reached 98%.

Ngige made this disclosure while speaking at his home town in Alor, Idemili South local government area of Anambra State, on Monday, during the launch of his free medical outreach at the Community’s Health Center.

The Minister said, “We have met about 98 percent of the request of ASUU. Some 5 to 2 percent is what you can call promissory notes. So, I am very hopeful that by midnight today, there are some works we are supposed to get on to do. They also have some work they are supposed to do on their own side with their people.

“Tuesday, we will meet in the afternoon and we will compare notes. We will put everything on the table and compare. I believe that we might have come to the end of the strike when we meet tomorrow. Well, it is a journey of a thousand miles which you will have to take one step first. Tomorrow, all things being equal, we will agree now to agree because we were disagreeing before.

“We disagree to agree and agree to disagree formerly. But tomorrow, I hope we will agree to agree. Once we do that, schools will reopen in January.”

It can be recalled that ASUU had embarked on strike since March 2020, due to a dispute with the Federal Government over the funding of the universities and the implementation of the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS), which they were opposed to.

Following months of negotiations and back and forth, an agreement was reached after the Federal Government promised to increase its offer for Earned Academic Allowances and funding for the revitalization of public universities from N65 billion to N70 billion, and also that payment of their withheld salaries would not be done through the IPPIS.

However, the Federal Government accused ASUU of refusing to reciprocate its gesture, after the union refused to call off its strike action, insisting that the government must pay all outstanding salaries and allowances before they would resume.

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