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30 August, 2017

Strike: Govt Negotiating Team’ll Present ASUU’s Demands to FEC today—Ngige




By : ohnbosco Agbakwuru & Joseph Erunke

Why we boycotted meeting with FG —ASUU
ABUJA —MINISTER of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris
Ngige, yesterday, said the demands of striking Academic
Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, presented in a new letter
to government dated August 28,2017, would be submitted
to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, at its meeting today,
in Abuja.
Ngige, while giving update on the aborted meeting of
government with ASUU, yesterday, in his office, confirmed
the receipt of ASUU’s letter and the need to present the
letter to Federal Executive Council, FEC, today.
He said:”The government, as you know, has made an offer
to ASUU through the Ministry of Education and late
yesterday (Monday), ASUU got back to us with their counter
offer.
Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige

“By then, this meeting had been scheduled and the
government’s side needed to deliberate on their counter
offer before we can have a reconciliation meeting to further
discuss areas of disagreement.
“That is the position right now. We are holding a
government side meeting, while the Minister of Education is
also holding meeting and we will meet later today and
formalize our position.
“Tomorrow is Federal Executive Council meeting and there
are aspects that we will need FEC approval to go on with.
“Thereafter, we will meet with the ASUU team either
tomorrow (today) evening or Thursday morning, which ever
will be more convenient,” the minister assured.
Why we boycotted meeting with FG—ASUU
Meanwhile, ASUU boycotted the meeting it was supposed
to have had with the Federal Government yesterday.
Instead, the union sent a letter, dated August 29, 2017,
reminding the government that it was awaiting its action on
its demands captured in an earlier letter, dated August 28,
2017, before it could contemplate attending further meeting
in response to the ongoing strike.
The latest letter to the government, where the union ruled
out attending further meeting, read: “On Thursday, August
17, 2017, we met with the Minister of Labour and Education
where it was decided that we should consult our members
and revert back to government. We have consulted our
members and in a letter dated August 28, we have written
back to the Federal Government on the outcome of our
consultations
“As we expect the Federal Government’s reaction to our
letter, we hope it would not be long before we receive a
response that would bring lasting solution to the dispute.’’
ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, reacting  to inquiry on
why his union stayed away from the scheduled meeting,
said the union had earlier submitted details of the views
collated from members following the meeting with
government a fortnight ago to the Minister of Labour and
Employment as well as his Education counterpart.
‘s statement on why it could not attend meeting with
government yesterday read in part: ”Members of the
Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, were forced to
proceed on indefinite , comprehensive and total strike
action on Sunday, 13th August, 2017 following
Government’s failure to implement issues, on which
understanding was reached during the suspended warning
strike of November, 2016.
“We have since held talks with representatives of
government and consulted our members nationwide on
steps to be taken to immediately resolve the lingering
crises.
“Among issues in the dispute are the registration of the
Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company
(NUPEMCO), fractionalization of salaries in Federal
Universities and gross under-funding/non-funding of State
Universities, and arrears and implementation of Earned
Academic Allowances (EAA).
“Other issues are release of fund for revitalization of public
universities as spelt out in 2013 Memorandum of
Understanding, guidelines for retirement benefits of
professors i line with 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, Treasury
Single Account (TSA) and withdrawal of support for
universities’ staff primary schools.
“On Thursday, 17th August, 2017, we met with officials of
the officials of the ministry of education and labour and
employment where it was agreed that the union should
consult and “revert back to government”. Following the due
consultation, we have collated the views of our members
on the offers from the government in dispute in the latter of
16thAugust 2017. These views were submitted to federal
government vide our letter dated 28thAugust 2017.
“As we await the Federal Government’s action on our letter,
we hope that it would not be long before we receive a
positive response which will bring an end to the dispute.
Meanwhile, we thank all Nigerians, particularly our student
(and their parent) and the media, for their understanding, so
far ,on the need to speedily address the issues in the best
interest of the Nigerian University System and for the
overall development of the country. “





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