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Why ASUU strike will soon end – Chris Ngige

ASUU considers indefinite strike Monday

Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and employment has stated that based on the federal government’s deliberations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), there is hope the one-month warning strike will end soon.

The federal government had on Wednesday, March 2 engaged ASUU in a rescheduled meeting over the ongoing industrial action.

The union is demanding the replacement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPIS) with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS). ASUU is also asking the federal government to revitalise the university system. And to effect the Earned Academic Allowance agreement of 2009, which gave birth to the MoA review in 2020, among others.

ASUU had told its members to proceed on a one-month warning strike which the union said will be rolling. This means the strike could continue until the federal government harkens to the union’s demands.

Ngige, who spoke with the press after the reconciliation meeting stressed that there was every hope that the strike will be called off soonest.

The minister disclosed that the meeting with ASUU was a positive one having agreed on many issues and given a timeline for the implementation of the agreements.

Read also: ASUU strike: Why ASUU, FG should be ashamed of themselves

“ASUU officials agreed to return to their members with offers made by the government and revert to me before the week runs out. Many of the items in the 2020 Memorandum of Action (MOA) had been dealt with exhaustively, while some were being addressed,” Ngige said.

“We have only one or two areas that are new. One of the new areas is the renegotiation of the conditions of service, which is called the `2009 agreement’.

“An agreement was reached in 2009 that their conditions of service would be reviewed every five years. It was done in 2014. We started one in which Wale Babalakin, the former UNILAG pro-chancellor, was chairing the committee.

“After Babalakin, Manzali was in charge and the committee came up with a draft document, proposed by the federal ministry of education and ASUU.”

Ngige further explained that the Manzali’s committee has become defunct because many of the people in the committee are no longer pro-chancellors.

“A new team had been constituted to take a second look at that document.

“This is to make sure that some of the allowances are not against the national salaries, incomes, and wages commission (NSIWC) fixed rates for wages and allowances.

“If you propose allowances that do not comply with NSIWC rates, the government will not be able to accept it.

“So, it is important that they do the right thing from the beginning so that whatever the committee presents can be approved by the federal executive council,’’ the minister said.