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After FG’s payment of arrears, ASUU Says strike continues

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National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke

The Academic Staff Union of Universities has insisted that its members won’t resume work despite the Federal Government’s payment of minimum wage arrears.

This [was contained in a circular by the University of Lagos branch of the union titled, ‘Payment of minimum wage arrears’.

The chairman of UNILAG ASUU, Dele Ashiru, confirmed the authenticity of the circular to The PUNCH on Saturday.

Ashiru described the arrears payment as “long-overdue”, saying that the core demands of ASUU have not been met.

The circular read, “The leadership of our Branch has been inundated with calls concerning the recent payment of the long-overdue arrears of the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage.

“Our members are reminded that this is not one of the core demands upon which the ongoing strike action is premised.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the demands of our Union are the conclusion of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, abrogation of the fraudulent and corrupt IPPIS scheme and the deployment of UTAS, payment of promotion arrears, the proliferation of State Universities and governance issues amongst others.

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“While our Union welcomes this unsolicited payment, our members should please conserve the funds and spend wisely so as to energise our struggle until all our demands are satisfactorily met
Our Union commends the resolve and sacrifice of our members in enthroning a University system that is globally competitive.

“United we bargain! Divided we beg! A people united can never be defeated. Solidarity forever”

The PUNCH had reported that the Federal Government had commenced the payment of minimum wage arrears, which it owed lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and Academic Staff Union of Universities as part of efforts to end ongoing strikes by the unions.

On February 15, ASUU began a four-week rollover strike following the Federal Government’s failure to meet its demands.

The National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said the decision was taken after the union’s National Executive Committee meeting.

Osodeke said since the last meeting the union had with the federal government in December 2021, it had not received any formal invitation from the government.

ASUU extended the action by another two months to afford the government more time to address all of its demands.

The union also accused the government of displaying an indifferent attitude toward its demands.

Osodeke, in a statement to announce the extension of the rollover strike, noted that the national executive council of the union “was disappointed that Government did not treat the matters involved with utmost urgency they deserved during the four-week period as expected of a reasonable, responsive, and well-meaning administration”.

He said the NEC concluded that the government had failed to satisfactorily address all the issues raised in the 2020 Memorandum of Action within the four-week roll-over strike period and resolved that the strike be rolled over for another eight weeks.

Osodeke said the strike continues over the government’s failure to “satisfactorily” implement the Memorandum of Action it signed with the Union in December 2020 on funding for revitalisation of public universities (both Federal and States), renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU Agreement and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution.

Other demands of the union as listed by ASUU include Earned Academic Allowances, State Universities, promotion arrears, withheld salaries, and non-remittance of third-party deductions.

Education

Varsity Strike: ASUU demands exclusion of Ngige from negotiations

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities has accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, of allowing the over four-month strike in nation’s universities to linger.

President of the union, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, who stated this on Friday, also denied the claim by the minister that the union was invited to meeting on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Ngige said the FG would soon resolve issues on the strike by ASUU and that concerns over payment platforms would be addressed with the union and other stakeholders in the next meeting fixed for Thursday.

But speaking on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Friday, the President of ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke, said the union did not receive any letter of invitation from the minister.

He said Ngige should remove himself from the ongoing negotiation because the minister had worsened the situation.

He said, “We were not invited to any meeting. None of our members was invited. We have a secretariat but we never got any invitation from them.

“The problem we have with this government, especially with the minister of labour, is that if you can tell the world that you have fixed a meeting which you didn’t; how do you expect us to believe other things you have said?

“He should confirm to the world that he sent an invitation to ASUU for a meeting on Thursday.

“The minister of labour should leave us to deal with the minister of education. He was the one that made this matter worse to this extent. He was the one that decided to use hunger as a weapon, when he said no work no pay.”

ASUU, on February 14, declared a one-month warning strike to protest the non-implementation of its demands by the FG.

But on March 14, the union extended the action by eight weeks, citing the government’s failure to fully address its demands.

On May 6, Ngige promised that the FG would resume negotiations with ASUU with the aim of ending the strike.

Three days after his promise, the union extended the strike by another 12 weeks.

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Education

Supreme Court verdict: MSSN urges Lagos to issue circular on Hijab

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MSSN Lagos State Area Unit Amir (President), Miftahudeen Thanni

•Seeks sanction for defaulting principals, teachers

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Education

ASUU will call off four-month strike soon – Ngige

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on Wednesday said the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities would soon be called off.

He stated this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by the President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Ngige said efforts were underway to resolve the ongoing dispute between the FG and ASUU over payment platforms.

ASUU, which grounded academic activities in Nigerian universities since February 14, 2022, had insisted on the use of its own generated payment platform, University Transparency and Accountability Solution.

It premised its demand on claims that the government-backed Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System was shortchanging its members.

However, the Federal Government, last March claimed that UTAS was unfit for wide-scale use as it failed three integrity tests.

Aside from UTAS, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions also proposed their payment platform: Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System.

Ngige argued that the Federal Government was indeed engaging with ASUU, despite notions that it has been snubbing the union.

He also said there were no plans to establish an alternative payment table for all the labour unions in tertiary institutions.

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