Chris Steven, Abuja
Leaders of Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) on Tuesday stayed away from a meeting called by Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment to find lasting solutions to the strike embarked upon my members of the union since August 13, 2017.
The meeting was expected to be a follow up to the August 17 meeting Ngige held with the President and Executive of ASUU and government delegation on the lingering strike.
But the Minister was disappointed at the absence of the union leaders who according to him had promised during the last meeting to take the offer of the Federal Government back to its members and get back to the Federal Government within a week.
However, Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President in a statement issued on Tuesday titled “Nationwide strike: An update” said there was no need for such meeting as the union has collated its views and sent same to the Federal Government through a letter on Monday August, 28, 2017.
Rather, he said the union is waiting for the government’s action on its letters and timely resolution of the issues involved.
The statement reads in full:
“Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) were forced to proceed on indefinite, comprehensive and total strike action on Sunday, 13th August, 2017 following Government’s failure to implement issues, on which understanding was reached during the suspended warning strike of November, 2016.
“We have since held talks with representatives of Government and consulted our members nationwide on steps to be taken to immediately resolve the lingering crisis. Among issues in the dispute are registration of the Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO), fractionalization of salaries in Federal Universities and gross under-funding/non-funding of State Universities, and arrears and implementation of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).
“ Other issues are release of fund for revitalization of public universities as spelt out in the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding, guidelines for retirement benefits of professors in line with 2009 FGN/ ASUU Agreement, Treasury Single Account (TSA), and withdrawal of support for universities’ staff primary schools.
“On Thursday, 17th August, 2017, we met with officials of the Ministry of Education and Labour and Employment where it was agreed that the Union should consult and “revert back to Government”. Following due consultation, we have collated the views of our members on the offers from Government in dispute in the letter of 16th August, 2017. These views were submitted to Federal Government vide our letter dated 28t1, August, 2017.
“As we await the Federal Government’s action on our letter, we hope that it would not be long before we receive a positive response which will bring an end to the dispute. Meanwhile, we thank all Nigerians, particularly our students (and their parents) and the media, for their understanding, so far, on the need to speedily address the issues in the best interest of the Nigerian University System and for the overall development of the country”.