Varsity Strike: ASUU demands exclusion of Ngige from negotiations
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.
ASUU will call off four-month strike soon – Ngige
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.
More trouble for varsity students as NASU, SSANU extend strike by two months
The hope of ending the ongoing industrial action in the universities has become dimmed as Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and allied institutions has announced an extension of its strike by two months.
This came on Wednesday in a statement signed by the National President, SSANU, Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, and General Secretary, Mr Peter Adeyemi.
The statement partly read, “In view of the fact that government is still a long way from effectively resolving the issues in contention, it is only expedient that we allow the process to be fully concluded before directing the end of the strike. Consequently, you are hereby informed that the strike has been extended by two months, within which we are hoping that all the contentious issues would have been effectively laid to rest. The two-month extension is with effect from Friday, June 24, 2022.’’
The NASU/SSANU’s strike started with a warning strike of two weeks which commenced at the midnight on Sunday, March 27, 2022, while the extension of another two weeks commenced on Sunday, April 10, 2022, and it is still ongoing.
Their demands include the inconsistent issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system, unpaid earned allowances, delay in the renegotiation of the FGN, NASU, SSANU agreements, and non-payment of minimum wage arrears.
Others are neglect and poor funding of state universities, non-payment of retirement benefits to outgoing members of the unions, and usurpation of the headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures, among others.
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