Friday, 18 August 2017

Strike Action; FG Turn Down ASUU’s Request on TSA As Meeting Ends in Deadlock

One of the fundamental issues raised by Academic staff union of Nigeria universities to federal government is the continuous objection to its plights of removing Nigeria universities from its treasury single Account policy (TSA) to which  the federal government turned down, which was part of the reason the meeting ends in deadlock urban express news reliably gathered.

It was learnt at the meeting with ASUU in Abuja, that the federal government had  asked the lecturers to end their strike action but both parties did not agree on other salient issues apart from the (TSA)

Urban express news correspondent gathered that the two sides failed to reach an agreement on the demand of the union that universities should be exempted from the Treasury Single Account.
ASUU had on Sunday called a nationwide strike over the failure of the Federal Government to implement the 2009 agreement between the two sides.
The ASUU president had, at a press conference on Monday, explained that the union decided on the strike after the FG failed to implement the 2009 agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding it signed with ASUU in 2013.
He listed the areas in dispute in the current industrial action to include funding for the revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowances, the registration of the Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company and pension matters, fractionalisation and non-payment of salaries and the issue of universities’ staff schools.
Checks revealed that the Federal Government promised to honour all of ASUU’s requests except the one regarding the TSA.
It was also gathered that  government admitted wrongdoing and appealed to the lecturers to call off the strike immediately, but the appeal was rejected by ASUU leaders, who pleaded for time to meet their members because of the TSA.
He said, “The meeting was straightforward. The government admitted wrongdoing and promised to honour its past promises. The only issue on which no agreement was reached was the TSA.
“The members of ASUU executive said they would meet with their members and give us a response next week.”
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Ngige stated that the government was expecting  feedback from ASUU on the overtures made to it, adding that the union promised to return to the negotiation table within one week.
He explained that the government position was drafted by the Ministers of Education (Adamu Adamu); Labour and Employment (Ngige); Finance, (Kemi Adeosun); and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and was communicated to ASUU.
Ngige said, “Within the last 48 hours, the government has been working; the Minister of Education, Minister of Finance, Attorney General of the Federation met and we have taken some government positions which we have communicated to ASUU leaders to take back to their members to see if that is adequate enough for them to call off the strike.”
“The major issue is that we want the strike called off so that our children in school can write their degree and promotion exams. ASUU leaders said they will come back to us on a date within the next one week. It will not be later than one week,” the minister said.
ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, said he would not go into the specifics of the offers made by the government until he met with his members, adding that the union would not call off the strike.
He said, “Like the minister said, government has made offers on the issues we have raised, but we have to get back to our members for them to consider the offers and advise us. Based on their position, we will come back to government, hopefully within the next one week.”
Explaining why he could not call of the strike, Ogunyemi said the action was called by the union members, noting that they were the ones that would determine when it should be called off.
He said, “The offers are for our members and when we meet with them, we will come back and reveal all we agreed on.
“The leadership of the union did not call the strike, our members did, and they will decide when to suspend the strike.”

Ngige, however, accused ASUU of not following the proper procedure before starting the strike.
The minister, who stated this in his opening remarks shortly before the meeting began around 3:45pm, explained that the union did not issue the mandatory 15-day notice as required by the Trade Dispute Act.
He expressed displeasure over the agreement brokered by the National Assembly, describing it as a political agreement.
He said, “If we want to apportion blame, certain things have been done by the government side that went for the negotiation in the National Assembly and made political agreement with them.”
He attributed the inability of the government to implement the 2009 agreement to “some trajectories.”
The minister said many universities employed workers without approval, which resulted in the shortfall in lecturers’ salaries.
He said, “Concerning salary shortfall, many universities employed workers without authorisation.

“For instance, a university can just decide to recruit 50 people and the IPPI (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information) will not be aware. So, the money they got last month will not be sufficient for the following months; and they will now spread it among the entire staff. We said institutions must stop employing without approval and ASUU accepted. in responsce,  Biodun Ogunyemi, ASSU President  said  the union had  done every thing legitimately  to see that government is kept at all notices. ''in november, we went on one week warning strike there, was no response and we made sure we send letters to all stake holders involved and after descovering that there was not response,that was the reason its union went on an indefinte strike.''

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