Strike Continues As FG, ASUU Meeting Deadlocked

The Industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will still continue as government awaits the striking lecturers to meet with its National Executive Council (NEC) and decide when they will call off the strike.
The federal government had in the last two days pressured the union to call off its strike which started last Monday.
Addressing journalists at the end of a meeting held yesterday at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, ASUU president, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, said the union after, listening to the offer by the federal government, will get in touch with its NEC and get back in one week.
Eyes Of Lagos source revealed that, Speaking earlier, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said government has made an offer to the striking lecturers in the quest to get them back to the classrooms.
He said, “The meeting was not very long and we touched the various issues. Within the last 48 hours, government has been working. The Minister of Education, Minister of Finance, Attorney General of the Federation and we have taken some government position which we have communicated to ASUU for them to take back to their members to see if that can be adequate enough for them to call off the strike.
“The major issue is that we want the strike called off so that our children in school can write their degree and promotion exams. ASUU graciously said they will come back to us on a date within the next one week. It will not be later than one week so that we then take it from there”.
In his reaction, the ASUU president said the union’s NEC will decide on whether to call off the strike after its meeting.
He said, “Like the minister said, government has made some offers in the issues we have raised and 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 advice us. Based on their position, we will come back to government hopefully within the next one week.
“I am sorry that I can’t go into discussing specifics. The offers are for our members and when we meet with them, we will come back and unveil all the issues as agreed on.
On whether the strike will be called off before then, he said, “The leadership of the union did not call the strike, our members called the strike and they will decide when to suspend the strike. So, when our members decide otherwise, it will be off”.
Earlier before negotiation commenced, the federal government’s team and ASUU leadership expressed disagreement over the strike action.
Ngige said, “In all, government is desirous to attend to the issues raised and is not trying to show any bad faith. The issues are well known to all of us because they are a product of the 2009 agreement whose fallout was the memorandum of understanding signed in 2013 with which government was supposed to release some funds.
“Last November, we all agreed that the funds released should be audited forensically and that while that is going on, some amount of money should be released. One or two things happened and due to lapses to Labour administration there were some trajectories that made it impossible for some of the conditions not being fulfilled.
“The Babalakin committee is working on those issues and I know that ASUU, as knowledgeable men, are aware that ILO conventions permits that there should be renegotiation and that was why we allowed the Ministry of education go ahead with the renegotiation of the CBA”.
But the ASUU president denied the allegation that ASUU kept the relevant ministries, departments and agencies in the dark before proceeding on the strike action.
He said, “You will recall that when we came here two days ago, we drew your attention to a letter dated July 10 and it was why we were here that you confirmed that you were seeing that letter for the first time. Between July 10 and now, I don’t think it is one day. In the last ten months or so, we have written five letters and have tried to reach out to the relevant stakeholder since we suspended our action in November last year.
“One other issue I want to clear is about the Babalakin committee. What we had at the end of our discussion last November were areas that are actionable and we left that place with the impression that there will be follow-up. We appreciate what has been done since we started this action and we are here again to see what we can get. In summary, we want to take information from here to our members who are our principals”.

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