The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Tuesday said it has no plan to suspend its ongoing strike but to end it permanently.
It however said such can only happen when all demands have been met.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, disclosed this at a press briefing while addressing Journalists in Abuja.
“We want to end strike. We are not suspending the strike. You can only end strike when all the demands have been met,” he said.
He accused Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Productivity, of sabotage, vowing not to call off the ongoing strike until demands are met.
Osodeke said the union would not succumb to blackmail.
“It has become imperative for us in Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to update Nigerians and lovers of education everywhere in the world on the status of our ongoing nationwide strike action which began on 14th February 2022. The need for doing so could be traced to two sources. First, as a union of intellectuals that deals with facts and verifiable claims, there is need to put the records straight on our engagements with the government.
“This need becomes very compelling against the backdrop of the statements recently pushed out from the government quarters. Specifically, there have been insinuations by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, that there was no agreement between ASUU and the government; that ASUU sat down to fix its own members’ salaries; and that our Union asked representatives of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to recuse themselves from the negotiations.
“Also, it appears that Dr. Ngige has deliberately misrepresented the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) convention on the collective bargaining agreement and the roles of a conciliator to serve his propagandist interest in this matter.
“Following the resumption of the strike action by our Union at the University of Lagos, on the 14th February 2022, we participated at several meetings at the instance of the Ministry of Labour and Employment chaired by Dr. Chris Ngige as “Conciliator”. To our utter dismay, nothing concrete came out of the endless deliberations as the Conciliator kept approbating and reprobating. For instance, he would declare that he fully supported our demand that the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU be speedily concluded within six weeks while at the same time creating an unrealistic pathway to arriving at a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
“Similarly, Dr. Ngige kept going back and forth on concluding the integrity test for the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) for replacing the discredited Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS) contrary to the letters and spirit of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of December 2021. Matters got to a head when our Union leaders were forced to express their frustration at one of the so-called conciliatory meetings.
“When we expressed our frustration at the manner the engagement processes were going, Dr Chirs Ngige. went on to lampoon the Ministry of Education; saying he was not our employer. At a point, he directed our Union to go and picket the office of the Minister of Education, who is our employer! Subsequently, he tactfully recused himself.
It could be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and the minister of Labour, Chris Ngige to resolve the prolonged strike embarked upon by the four university-based unions and report back to him in two weeks time.
President Buhari gave the directive on Tuesday after he received briefings from the relevant government Ministries, Agencies and Departments involved in resolving the face-off with the university unions.
DAILY GIST reported that ASUU had commenced nationwide strike on February 14th 2022, citing different demands which the FG had failed to meet as its reasons.
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.
Other tertiary institution unions also on strike include the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
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