...FG Accepts UTAS, Honour 2009 Agreement
THE Academic Staff Union of Universities has revealed that salaries of its members have been stopped since the ongoing strike commenced as a result of implementation of ‘no work, no pay’ policy of the Federal Government.
National President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, who made this known, faulted claims in some quarters that the lecturers were paid some months of salaries as part implementation of some of the agreements reached with the government.
Osodeke while speaking with the Nigerian Tribune gave some conditions for suspension of the strike by the union.
He stated that the over five months strike could be called off the following day for academic activities to resume on campuses of public universities if the Federal Government signs the renegotiated 2009 agreement that was concluded two weeks ago and accepts the proposed Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as the payment platform.
He lamented that the promise by the Federal Government to immediate reply to its submission to the committee set up to negotiate with it had not been fulfilled.
Osodeke also called on well-meaning citizens of the country to take the government to task on how it is handling the running of universities and education generally.
When contacted, Professor Nimi Briggs, who led the committee set up by the Federal Government to renegotiate the 2009 agreement with ASUU, said he could not tell what was responsible for the delay in the government making its stance known on the report submitted to it.
ASUU had embarked on a four-week warning strike on February 14. On March 14, the union extended the industrial action by another two months to allow the government to meet all of its demands.
On May 9, ASUU extended its rollover strike by another three months over the failure of the Federal Government to implement agreements reached with the union.
The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment had invoked the no-work, no-pay policy by stopping the salaries of the lecturers.
ASUU, however, said government’s resort to the use of starvation as a weapon for breaking the collective resolve of ASUU members and undermining the patriotic struggle to reposition public universities in Nigeria was ill-advised and might prove counterproductive.
Osodeke said, “We concluded renegotiation on the 16th of June, 2022, which is about two weeks ago. The committee said they were going to meet with their principals, the Federal Government, to look at the draft agreement and to give them permission to sign and now today is 5th of July, which is why the strike is lingering.
“They have stopped our salaries since March. We didn’t die because of that. We only want Nigerians to see this as a battle we must all fight, that our education system should be adequately funded, facilities improved on and that education as a right should not be taken away from the average citizen.
“The ball is in their court and when the right thing is done, we will all benefit and our society will be better for it.”
ASUU president insisted that UTAS is homegrown as opposed to the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS) introduced to Nigeria by the World Bank, adding that UTAS remains the best wage payment platform as it takes care of the peculiarities of the University system