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Strike: ASUU Strike Continues As Aso Rock Meeting Ends In Deadlock

During a meeting held on Thursday by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Agboola Gambari, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, the Federal Government and the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council were unable to persuade the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities to call off their industrial action. The meeting was called by Prof Gambari and Ngige.

The ASUU leaders could not be convinced at the meeting, which was also co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, and the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Supo Ayokunle, to return to the classrooms while negotiations were still ongoing to meet their demands.

 

It was reported that during the closed-door technical session, the FG and NIREC tried to convince the union to return to the classrooms by promising that their demands would be met. However, the ASUU leadership reportedly stated that the government had to meet part of their demands so that they could use it to convince their members to call off the ongoing strike. This information was gathered from various sources. There were representatives from other registered labor unions in universities, as well as identified interest groups and civil society organizations, present at the meeting, which was hosted in the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

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READ ALSO :-  ASUU may resume strike in Feb, varsity unions war over N40bn

Ngige, however, provided an update on the meeting and stated that the Federal Government had reached an agreement with the union. He also stated that specific dates had been set and that some elements of the agreements will begin to be implemented from the beginning of the next week.

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The minister stated that the concerns of salary review and renegotiation of the agreement from 2009 would be dealt with in the very near future. “We have made some agreements, and we expect that by next week, those agreements will have matured to the point where the different unions will have something to tell their people, allowing them to call off the strike. “We have set deadlines for certain components of the agreement, such as the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement in terms of condition of service and wage review. Therefore, we are optimistic that the labor unions will see a resolution to that matter by the next weekend.

READ ALSO :-  Govt lied, no agreement on strike suspension date – ASUU

Earlier on, Gambari urged the university-based unions to put the interests of the students at the forefront of their work, pointing out that resources are not a limited resource.

Prof. Emmanuel Osedeke, the President of ASUU, recalled that NIREC had earlier intervened in the issues last November. He also noted that the Sultan and CAN leader had also met with President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who set up a three-man committee that met with the union for the first time on Thursday. The committee’s meeting with the union was the first time the committee had communicated with the union.

He said, “The reason our people are scared is because even though we had been on strike for 12 weeks, that committee is meeting with us for the first time today.” He went on to say that the meeting was scheduled for today. Even if we didn’t participate in the strike, it will still take us three years. Exactly this is the issue that we are facing with the system. I am confident that a solution to these issues can be found within the next three days if the will to do so is present on both sides.

READ ALSO :-  At Least 20 Students Injured As Sporadic Gunshots Followed By Violence Rocks NANS Convention

 

The roll-over strike that ASUU began on February 14 was prolonged by another 12 weeks as of Monday, when the union announced the extension. The funding for the revitalization of public institutions is one of its requests, along with the Earned Academic Allowances program, the University Transparency Accountability Solution, and promotion arrears.

Among other things, the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and inconsistencies in the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System are on the agenda.

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