The Federal Government has said it has done all it can to end the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU).
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu disclosed this to reporters at an ongoing meeting with Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities at the National Universities Commission (NUC) Abuja.
As of the time of filing this report, the meeting has gone into a closed-door session.
It was gathered that at the meeting, the government may order the schools to be reopened and allow workers ready to work come back to their duty posts.
The Federal Ministry of Education stated that ASUU are not the only set of workers in the university system and since non-academic staff are ready to go back to work, the universities should no longer be shut.
The Minister is expected to brief reporters at the end of the meeting.
Adamu said: “In all, we have been doing, our guide has been the directive of Mr President Muhammadu Buhari, namely, that while the unions should be persuaded to return to work, Government should not repeat the past mistakes of accepting to sign an agreement it will be unable to implement. Government should not, in the guise of resolving current challenges, sow seeds for future disruptions.
“We have done the best that we can in the circumstance. After Inter-ministerial consultations and rounds of hard negotiations with all government agencies, we interacted with the Unions. I personally, gave it all it required to resolve the current challenges. I met the Unions anywhere and everywhere possible with facts, with figures, and with absolute sincerity. For example, I directly met with ASUU leadership in my house, in my office and at the ASUU Secretariat on several different occasions, in addition to other formal engagements going on.
“To be frank with all the unions, especially with ASUU, one major issue over which Government and the Unions could not reach amicable agreement was the issue of the law on “No work, No pay”. In the spirit of sincerity, the Government made it clear that it would not break the law. And on this, I must, openly and once again, thank all the Unions which made the sacrifice of understanding the position of Government on the matter.”
For me, the past two weeks have been a very dark period of personal anguish and internal turmoil. I used to deceive myself that in a climate of frankness, and with mutual goodwill, it will fall to my lot to bring an end to the incessant strikes in the education sector.
This has not proved possible, or, at least, not as easy, quickly and straightforward, as I used to think.
“Distinguished Chairmen, vice-chancellors, I called you today not to share with you my anguish but to share with you the details of what we have done and what remains to be done. And certainly, a lot remains to be done. But for very different reasons, the current positions of Government and ASUU on the future of negotiations seem to have coincided.
For me, this is a position I would have wanted us to reach after an amicable resolution of all the issues contained in the 2009 Agreements. It appears that we are running ahead of the negotiations but not for the right reasons. The President of ASUU has been reported to have said the Union would no longer negotiate with the current Federal Government.
“This position must be resisted. Government and ASU have no option than to continue talking until our universities have reopened their doors to students, who clearly are the principal victims of the seemingly unending strikes. In the circumstances, therefore, all Councils and Senates of our universities are enjoined to rise up to their responsibilities.
DAILY GIST reported that ASUU had declared a comprehensive, total and indefinite strike over federal government’s failure to meet its demands.
Some of the demands include, payments of salary arrears, better working conditions, renegotiation of the 2009 FG-ASUU agreement, payment of earned academic allowances, funds for the revitalization of public universities, promotion arrears, and poor funding of state universities.
It was gathered that the union decision may force the federal government to order the vice chancellors to reopen schools and allow workers ready to work come back to their duty posts.