ASUU strike: Details of FG’s meeting with lecturers emerge
The Federal Government has said that it supports the revision of the university workers’ benefit package in accordance with contemporary reality.
Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, announced this on Monday during a meeting with members of the 2009 FG and university-based unions renegotiation committee.
Ngige confessed that the government was dissatisfied with the Academic Staff Union of Universities’, ASUU’s, attitude to pursuing its demands.
On February 14, ASUU began a one-month warning strike, which was later extended by additional two months, in response to the government’s apparent inability to answer their demands.
However, at a meeting with the Federal Government Renegotiation Committee in his office, Ngige appealed with the committee to complete its work within six weeks, as stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the unions.
The Minister also asked ASUU leadership to find a better means of pressuring the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission, NUC, to speed up execution of agreements struck with the government rather than going on strike every time there was a dispute.
“I am not the Minister of Education,” Ngige stated. I cannot go to the Education Minister and tell him how to operate his department. However, I urged ASUU that you should be hammering the Federal Ministry of Education in order for this to be carried forward.
“There are several ways to accomplish this. There is something called picketing in the labor act. You are free to picket. The strike is a last resort. Picketing allows you to remain in the corridor while clapping or singing. Workers are allowed to do so.
“But I’m sick of having to call a strike every time there’s a disagreement.” And the bosses at the Federal Ministry of Education seem unconcerned about the strike. It is the youngsters, as well as some of us parents, who send our children to public schools.”
“Why won’t I support if ASUU and their unions now demand a revision of their terms of service, which is the primary point in the previous Committee’s proposal?” he continued.
Prof. Nimi Briggs, Chairman of the 2009 FG and university-based union renegotiation Committee, stated that his Committee was meeting all parties in order to find a peaceful solution to the ASUU conflict.