Chris Steven, Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria (ASUU) has directed all its members to stay away from classrooms to mark the beginning of a One Week warning strike on Wednesday November 16.
According to the President of the union, Biodun Ogunyemi, the one week nation wide warning strike would be total and comprehensive during which, he said, there would be no teaching, no examination and no attendance at statutory meetings of any kind at all its branches.
Speaking at a press conference at the National Secretariat of the union at the University of Abuja on Monday, Ogunyemi said that the warning strike followed the failure of federal government to respect the spirit and letters of the 2009 Agreement and the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) reached with the union.
He said the union rose from its emergency National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting held in Abuja, resolved to commence the one week nation wide warning strike.
“Our members are worried that after series of meetings with the Minister of Education and a series of letters to amplify the need to respect the spirit and letters of the 2009 and the 2013 MoU, there has been no tangible results oh the issues raised.
This failure puts ASUU leadership in a severe difficulty responding to enquiries from members of the union about the state of affairs on our engagement with the Federal Government.
Following a nation wide consultations with our membership, National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU rose from its meeting yesterday, 13th November with a resolution to embark on a one week warning strike starting from Wednesday 16, November, 2016.
Section 6.4a of the 2009FGN-ASUU Agreement provides that the areas of agreement would be renegotiated every three years”
A renegotiation of the agreement by the parties would have afforded both the government of Nigeria and ASUU to bring up unresolved issues in the areas of conditions of service,funding,university autonomy and academic freedom “
Our members have said they are tired of government’s empty promises on setting up its Negotiating Team for the review of Agreement ,as consistently requested by ASUU since 2012″ Ogunyemi explained.
While lamenting what he called chronic underfunding of the education sector, the ASUU President noted that the low budgetary allocation to education sector from 11% in 2015 to 8% in 2016 under the present Administration calls for worry.
“We tried to correct the impression that the capital and research grants to universities were being handled by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund on the grounds that grants from intervention agency cannot replace statutory funding of education at a time we believe allocation to education should be 26% as recommended “
He however said that the union would be willing to meet with the Federal Government representatives whenever government is ready to negotiate.