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Strike: ASUU Shuns FG’s Reconciliatory Meeting  

Photo caption: Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Tuesday, stayed back at a meeting convened by the Federal Government FG team to resolve the ongoing nationwide industrial action by its members.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who called for the meeting, disclosed he also  invited the Minister of Education, among others on effort to resolving the lingering over two weeks strike by the union.

ASUU had met with the officials of the Ministry of Education and Labour and Employment on Thursday, August 17, 2017. The meeting agreed that the union should consult and revert back to government within one week.

The union started the strike Monday, August 13, following government’s failure to implement the agreement it reached with the FG in November. 2016.

Among the ASUU’s demands are the disputed registrations of the Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company, fractionalization of salaries in Federal Universities, gross under-funding and non-funding of State Universities.

Others include: arrears and implementation of Earned Academic Allowances, release of fund for revitalization of public universities as spit out in the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding, among others.

“Today we are supposed to have a formal meeting with the Minister of Education and other stakeholders in the government side and ASUU.

“But we had some new development, which made it mandatory, that we roll over this meeting to the next day.

“Because the government as you know on Aug. 18 gave ASUU an offer, through the Ministry of Education and yesterday when ASUU got back to us, which was late, the meeting has already been scheduled.

“ASUU had gotten back to government to say that they needed us to deliberate on their counter offer before we can have a formalized meeting,” Dr. Ngigie said.

The Employment Minister noted that it was only after the meeting that government and the union would then have a reconciliatory meeting to further discuss the areas of disagreements or the union’s new demand.

“That is the position we are now and as I speak, we are having a government side meeting that is being held in my office while the Minister of Education is at another point having a meeting.

“We will reconcile into a full government meeting by 3 p:m today and then formalized our position and look at the ASUU request.

“Then, tomorrow is FEC meeting and we also need council approval for some of the things we are doing.

“This is what government has decided, thereafter we would speak with ASUU either tomorrow or Thursday whichever is convenient to both parties, ”the Minister added.

While reacting, ASUU National President, Dr. Biodun Ogunyemi, in a statement said the union had collated the views of its members submitted to government on August 28, 2017.

“As we await the Federal Government’s action on our letter, we hope that it would not be long before we receive a positive response which will bring an end to the dispute.”

Dr. Ogunyemi urged FG to be prompt in its decision, in the best interest of the Nigerian University System and for the overall development of the country. / (NAN)

 

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