ASUU strike update – Following continued negotiations with the federal government, there are many reasons to believe that the ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities), which began total, indefinite strike action last Monday, will likely resume work early next week.
Adamu Adamu, the minister of education, intimated t”The audit from the ministry was to be completed by the minister of finance. hat universities would probably soon reopen for learning during a private meeting with a team from the National Higher Education Forum on Thursday in Abuja. He also confirmed ongoing negotiations.
Adamu affirmed that the government had consented to pay the remaining N23 billion in Earned Allowances to the professors on strike. Speaking at a separate meeting with the Senate Committee on Tertiary Education and Tertiary Education Trust Fund, the Minister stated that the Ministry of Finance has committed to conducting a forensic audit of the N30 billion allowance previously released to the lecturers, bringing the total to N53 billion (TETFund),.
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“They (lecturers) demanded N23 billion in payment. However, we stated that they had to account for the additional N30 billion they had taken, for a total of N53 billion, in order for that N23 billion to be released. And they were unable to explain it.
“The audit from the ministry was to be completed by the minister of finance. We also decided that the outcome would be known in six months. The government promised to pay them N1.5 billion per month for the duration of that six-month period, Adamu informed the committee.
According to him, the Ministry of Finance has already given its approval for the money’s release but not for their monetary backing. “They’ll probably be able to get the check by Monday. He promised, “And we’ll do a forensic audit on the entire N53 billion.
Adamu, however, emphasized that the Treasury Single Account (TSA), which is a significant demand made by ASUU, will not be given. ASUU, the umbrella organization for all university lecturers in Nigeria, announced a complete, indefinite, national strike on Monday in protest of the Federal Government’s breach of the 2009–2013 Agreement reached with the Union.
ASUU has stated that unless the government complies with its demands, there would be no teaching, exams, or participation in any form of statutory meetings at any of its branches. Funding for the revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowances, registration of Nigerian universities pension Management companies, university staff schools, fictionalization, and non-payment of salaries are a few of the issues in the current disputes involving the Agreement.
The Minister said that aside from turning down the request for a TSA exemption, there are some other issues that the federal government equally turned down while expressing optimism that the industrial action would be called off within the next week.
“There are some other things that we disagreed on. And they asked to be removed from TSA at that point. I informed them that it was not feasible because the government would not alter this new policy for anyone.
Adamu stated that the Pension Commission would resolve the registration of the Pension Management Company for Nigerian Universities within the upcoming week.
He blamed the failure to pay salaries on federal universities’ choice to hire workers in violation of the law without using the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
He claimed that this has had a limited impact on the government’s efforts to get rid of thousands of “ghost workers” through careful personnel verification and salary payment procedures.
“For instance, a university might decide to go out and hire 50 people. IPPIS is not aware of this. Therefore, they will receive the money they received the previous month. And it won’t be enough for them. Usually, they distribute it to the entire crew. Let’s assume they pay between 70% and 80%, but it was their responsibility. Institutions must stop doing it, we said. And they agreed,” said Adamu.
Barau Jubril, the chairman of the committee, expressed confidence in the minister’s ability to quickly resolve the problems with the academics who are on strike.
The legislator begged the lecturers to end the walkout while talks are ongoing. However, the Union was not present at the conference.
The federal government and ASUU met to renegotiate on Thursday, but there was little progress made since Chris Ngige, the minister of labor and employment, was suspected of having discussions with the FG.
Following a closed-door meeting with Minister Adamu and Ngige, who led the Federal Government delegation, ASUU President Biodun Ogunyemi informed the press that they will provide a follow-up report to the government within a week.
He said, “Sir, you are already picking sides; a re-conciliator is not supposed to pick sides.”
However, he acknowledged that the government had offered some solutions to the problems they had raised, saying, “We have taken copious note of their offers and we have to get back to our members and make all the information available to them for them to consider and advise us and based on their position, we will come back to government hopefully within the next one week.”
Ogunyemi expressed regret that she was unable to provide specifics of what the parties had discussed. The offers are for our members, and after our meeting with them, we will reveal every problem that was discussed.
When asked if the walkout would be called off before then, he responded, “Our members called the strike; they will decide when to halt the action. The union leadership did not call the strike. Therefore, it will turn off until our members decide differently.
Ngige, the minister of labor, asserted throughout his remarks that he was not prejudiced. I examined the file and discovered a letter of complaint dated July 10 that I had never before seen.
He expressed his concern that the union did not give the required amount of notice before going on strike as required by international labor law.
“You are required to give at least 15 days’ notice before a union goes on strike, but that wasn’t done. Before calling for a strike, no advance notice was given to the Federal Government. If we are responsible, we must follow the law, Ngige urged the unions.
He said, “We touched on a number of themes during the brief conversation. The government has been active over the past 48 hours. ASUU has been given various government positions by the ministers of education, finance, and the federation’s attorney general, which we have informed them of so they may present them to their members and decide whether or not to end the strike.
“Our primary concern is that we need the strike to be ended so that our school-aged children can take their degree and promotion exams. ASUU graciously promised to contact us to set up a date within the upcoming week. We’ll move forward from there after a week, at the most.
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