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ASUU decides on strike Sunday

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The National Executive Council of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will meet on Sunday, to take a decision on whether to suspend or continue with the industrial action.

Sources among the union’s NEC members told The PUNCH that the meeting would hold at the union’s national headquarters at the University of Abuja.

The council is expected to receive reports from the various state congresses to take a decision.

ASUU has been on strike since 14 February pressing home some demands, including call for the government to implement the Memorandum of Action on funding for revitalisation of public universities, which was signed in December 2020.

Other demands included Earned Academic Allowances, renegotiation of the 2009 agreement and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, among others.

The ASUU source said: “The NEC meeting will hold on 28 August, the four weeks ultimatum that we gave is expiring that same day. We will be making our decisions based on the results of the state congresses.

“The NEC has to depend on the result of the congresses. The zones have held their own congresses; the branch chairmen will also talk to their members and they will get feedback which will be transmitted to the NEC”.

When asked if the union will consider calling off the strike, the source asked, “Does it look like the government wants to end the strike?”

Confirming the date of the NEC meeting to The PUNCH, the chairperson of ASUU, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Dr Gbolahan Bolarin simply said, “Yes, Sunday”.

Shortly after the commencement of ASUU strike, other university-based unions such as the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and other allied educational institutions had also embarked on strike to push their demands.

In a bid to end the strike, the government had set up a negotiation team led by the Pro-Chancellor of the Federal University of Lokoja, Prof. Nimi Briggs to look into negotiations with the unions.

While, SSANU, NASU and the National Association of Academic Technologists had suspended their strike actions, the negotiations between the government and ASUU had stalled.

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Education has said that it was not aware of plans to proscribe ASUU.

It also noted that the failure of the union to call off its strike despite the interventions of the government was unreasonable.

According to media reports, the government was planning to proscribe the union and drag it to the National Industrial Court over the strike.

But the Federal Ministry of Education’s spokesperson, Mr Ben Goong said: “We are not aware of such plans. The Minister gave all the updates during his press briefing with State House correspondents. If there were plans to take further steps, he would have noted it.

“As regards the next steps, the government has already inaugurated a committee to harmonise the IPPIS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System), UTAS (University Transparency and Accountability Solution) and UP3; this will ensure that the government will pay with only one payment platform that will harmonise all the technical peculiarities.

“The government has also rolled out its achievements. A total of N2.5 trillion has been expended in the tertiary education sector in the past 10 years, that is even much more than the amount in the 2009 agreement. The issues about salary adjustment have also been attended to.

“If you bring some demands and almost 80% has been attended to, there is no need to drag the strike anymore. It is unreasonable for the strike to be lingering, seeing as the government has worked towards fulfilling most of the demands”.

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