Suspension of Strike Imminent as ASUU Branches Ratify FG Offer

INFOMEDIA – As the results of the various congresses of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) trickles in, there are strong indications that the branches have accepted the Federal Government’s new offers.

Meanwhile, the congresses have given the Federal Government conditions to be met before the eight-month-old industrial action will be suspended by the union.

It was gathered that results from the various branch congresses held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday endorsed the new government offers on the table and gave conditions to end the strike.

After the last negotiation with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, and other government officials, the leadership of ASUU mandated the various branches to hold a congress on whether to accept or reject government new offers.

At the last meeting, the Federal Government offered ASUU an increase in some of their demands.  It expected the union to call off the strike but ASUU insisted it will consult branches, which have the powers to accept or reject the offers.

The results of the branch congresses will be collated by the zonal coordinators and forwarded to ASUU secretariat ahead of the Friday meeting with government officials.

Results from various ASUU branches indicate that members accepted the new government offers but they insisted that outstanding salaries from July to October be paid with November salary before the strike will be suspended.

One of the universities in the southwest whose congress took place on Monday, November 23rd, resolved that ASUU should accept the revitalization fund for public universities while on Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), it urged the leadership to consider the amount offered but it must for members alone.

On UTAS and governing council, the branches backed the position of the national leadership of the union and advised government to expedite action on the integrity test on UTAS while it also resolved that withheld salaries be paid with November salary.

Another university in South East zone accepted the N30 billion revitalization fund, stating that it will help state universities. It however insisted that July to November salaries must be paid before the suspension of strike while the EAA must be paid in full before ending the industrial action.

A branch in the North backed the acceptance of EAA and revitalization fund proposed by government.  It however demanded that July to November salaries must be paid before the suspension of strike.

It added: “EAA must be paid in full before the suspension of strike. Salary renegotiation must start and end in three weeks before suspension of strike. This will enable the National Assembly to include it in the 2021 budget.  EAA must be mainstreamed into monthly salaries before suspension. We are not in hurry to resume now and start another strike next year.”

INFOMEDIA earlier reported that the federal government, on Friday, during a meeting with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) shifted grounds when it offered a total sum of N65 billion to Nigerian universities to address some of its demands. It also said the lecturers will now be paid their salary arrears on an older platform, different from the controversial IPPIS.

The money seeks to address the issue of earned allowances and ”revitalisation of universities”.

Giving a breakdown of the cash, the minister of labour, Chris Ngige, said the Accountant General of the Federation has offered to release N40 billion ”or in the alternative, N35 billion to be shared by all the registered trade unions in the universities after providing necessary evidence of having earned the allowance”.

“The FG reiterated that her offer of N40 billion or N35 billion, whichever is accepted by ASUU was for all the universities’ unions. ASUU had proposed that N40 billion be paid immediately for all unions,” he said.

On the issue of withheld salaries, the meeting agreed that the lecturers will also be paid on the old payment platform pending the time when all issues are resolved.

The National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, had insisted that ”ASUU will take the new offer to its members. We will give the government our response by next week after discussing with our members,” he said.

Meanwhile, The executive secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) Professor Abubakar Rasheed has directed all Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities in Nigeria to urgently submit account details and lists of union members in their respective institutions.

The Vice-Chancellors are to make the information available to the Commission, not later than today Thursday, 26th November, 2020.

The requested personnel records which are for members of the University-based Unions who are yet to enroll in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is to also submit to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) in the appropriate format to enable the payment of entitled salaries, pending the conclusion of the ongoing negotiations with the various Unions.

 

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