The National Executive Council of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities will meet on Sunday, August 28, 2022 to take a decision on whether to suspend or continue with the industrial action, The PUNCH has learnt.
Sources among the union’s NEC members told our correspondent on Monday that the meeting will hold at the union’s national headquarters at the University of Abuja.
Our correspondent further gathered that the council will take a decision on the industrial action based on reports from the various state congresses.
The PUNCH reports that ASUU had on Monday, February 14, 2022 embarked on a strike.
The union had demanded for the renegotiation of the ASUU-FGN 2009 agreement; release of revitalisation funds for universities; deployment of the University Transparency Accountability System for the payment of salaries and allowances of university lecturers; release of earned allowances; and the release of the white paper report of the visitation panels to universities.
“The NEC meeting will hold on August 28, 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,” one of the sources said.
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 our correspondent, the chairperson, 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, Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities 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, Nimi Briggs, to look into negotiations with the unions.
While, SSANU, NASU and NAAT had suspended their strike actions, the negotiations between the government and ASUU had stalled.
‘No proscription plan’
Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Education on, Monday, said it was not aware of plans to proscribe ASUU.
The ministry also noted that the failure of the union to call off its strike despite the interventions of the government was unreasonable.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Ben Goong, disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja.
Media reports had said the government was planning to proscribe the union and drag it to the National Industrial Court over the strike.
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, UTAS 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.