Saturday, May 21, 2022

FG Gives Update On ASUU Strike After Meeting With The Union

The Federal Government assured that the ongoing strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, would be called off soon.

The FG said it was taken aback by the renewed action which the university teachers embarked on February 14, 2022.

ASUU, however, insisted that the suspension of the strike would depend on government’s readiness to meet its demands, especially the adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS), as payment platform.

This is even as The House of Representatives yesterday at plenary, urged stakeholders in the education sector to close ranks and call off the ongoing warning strike of university lectures in the interest of students.

Addressing the resumed conciliation meeting with the union yesterday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said government was surprised ASUU negated the understanding and assurances it gave through the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar and the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria , Rev. Supo Ayokunle.

Ngige, who was in Botswana for the meeting of the African Regional Labour Administrative Centre(ARLAC) when ASUU declared the warning strike, said he thought the university teachers and their employer, the Ministry of Education, would have resolved the areas of disputes within days.

“I sincerely thought ASUU and the Ministry of Education would have resolved the issues, which hopefully are not major areas of dispute, warranting industrial action. To my surprise, I came back , and the strike is still on. Be that as it may, it is the mandate of my Ministry to apprehend industrial disputes wherever they occur and we have apprehended this.

“From this negotiation, we are having today (yesterday), ASUU will appreciate that government means no harm. This is because even if there are still lapses in implementation of agreement , they are not such that will lead to industrial action. To that extent, we have to do everything possible to resolve this.

“ But I must tell you that on the government side, they were taken by surprise because before then, NIREC met with you, ASUU, and reported to the President. Having met with you and having given the details of their meeting with you, we sincerely hoped we won’t again take this route of industrial action. So , the government side is taken by surprise- Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and all are taken aback.”

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