• Monday, May 20, 2024
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Uncertainty as government meets ASUU leaders on IPPIS

ASUU

The federal government has again met with leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the implementation of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), which has led to a two-week warning strike declared by the union.

The Government insists IPPIS would also cover the universities even as ASUU has resisted the attempt to foist the policy on the union. Both sides had met on Thursday last week but the issues had lingered.

Speaking at a reconvened meeting between the Union and government on Tuesday in Abuja, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had expressed hope that both sides would try to resolve the matter.  He added that there was no need to the apportioning of blames.

However, ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, said the union is standing on an existing Memorandum of Action (MOA) even as he blamed the Federal for the crisis. He noted that IPPIS is simply incapable of accommodating academic staff salary structure at the tertiary level, stressing that government should take full responsibilities for the consequences of the ongoing action.

“Government actually ignited the ongoing crisis when it introduced IPPIS and instead of dialogue, it resorted to the use of force. The government courted the crisis by stopping the payment of salaries of our members citing president Buhari’s budget speech as a directive and they insist that the university must enroll on the IPPIS platform at a time we thought we are engaging ourselves.

“We have responded positively, we resent and resist the logic of force. It should be recalled that during our meeting with President Buhari on January 9, 2020, he promised to set up a high- powered inquiry to look into how much could be allowed in terms of management of resources and personnel by the universities within the limit of the constitution.

“ASUU was still expecting the fulfillment of that promise when the union was confronted with the unilateral stoppage of salaries by the government. It is no longer news that several lapses that we raised over the implementation of the IPPIS have become manifest given what has happened with February salaries for those that were paid.

“IPPIS is simply incapable of accommodating academic staff salary structure at the tertiary level and government should take full responsibility for the consequences of the ongoing action. Again, it was never mentioned anywhere in any of our memoranda that bursars of universities would be the ones to generate a budget for the National Assembly to address the mainstreaming of our allowances,” he said.

The meeting had gone into a technical session over the issues.

 ASUU had developed University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as an alternative to IPPIS and efforts are being made to reconcile both policies as some preliminary agreements have been made on what is to be done to accommodate the two systems.

The union has been having a protracted face-off with the Federal Government over the introduction of the IPPIS in October last year, which the government said was to ensure transparency in salary payment.

The Federal Government had maintained its position that all members of the union must be enrolled on the platform just like other government employees. The government had threatened that those who did not register for the IPPIS won’t be paid their salaries.

However, ASUU had faulted IPPIS policy, claiming it was in gross violation of the autonomy of universities as enshrined in the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Act 2003.

ASUU said the strike was to compel the FG to implement the outstanding agreement and resolution of it Memorandum of Action it had with the union in 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2019.