News reaching us that, The Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU have finally reached agreement with federal government to end the strike.
See what ASUU tells government to release N220 billion before end of October for renaissance of federal universities.
We‘ll take suggestions to our members for consideration- Ogunyemi, ASUU president.
The Union will cancel the industrial strike within 7 days.
Hints of impending end to the current strike embarked by ASUU emerged early today, as the union has agreed to some proposals laid down by the Federal Government in line with some of its demands.
The government agreed to some of the union’s request with attractive proposals which the union seems to find satisfying during a meeting between it and the ASUU on Friday, in Abuja.
One foremost compromise from government was to acknowledge the 2009 agreement that government had with ASUU, by releasing the sum of N220 billion before the end of October 2017, to fund the revival of federal universities across the country.
The meeting began by 2:30pm on Thursday and ended about 2:15 Friday morning, after deliberating on several issues on ASUU demands.
FG agreed to some demands made by ASUU after the lengthy meeting between its representatives, which was led by ministers of education, Adamu Adamu and Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and ASSU, led by its president, Biodun Ogunyemi.
However, ASUU President Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said that the proposals will be taken to the National Executive Committee meeting of the union for consideration and afterward return to government on what step taken.
He also said the discussion and consequent consideration of the proposals would be carried out within a week and the standing of members taken to the government within the period of seven days.
“We have had useful deliberations and we had some concrete proposals that we will take back to our members as part of our consultations. And like the Honourable Minister of Labour has said, we plan to come back here to take decisions as advised by our members, “he said.
Chris Ngige said that the government had started paying the earned grants of ASUU members adding that the current leadership had been holding meetings with ASUU on how to resolve the non-release of funds which should have commenced in 2014 under the immediate past administration.
Ngige said that the closed-door meeting deliberated on how to set up the National Universities Pension Commission.
“We also discussed the issue of university staff schools and coffers single account with a view to finding how the system could have room for funds for research grants that need to be autonomous from the government. We also talked about the issue of how the Federal Government could be involved in the management of state universities”, he said.
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He said a seven-man committee would be set up to work towards execution of the proposals that had been authorized by both sides.
Chris said most of ASUU’s demands discussed during the meeting stemmed from the 2009 agreement and the 2013 Memorandum of understanding the university teachers had with the federal government, saying it was essential that solutions were found to these imminent problems since government was a continuum.
The meeting which was organized by Ngige was also attended by Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters Senator Ita Enang, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi.
Ngige’s speech reads thus:”We have concluded negotiations, the government and the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
“The ASUU negotiating team and the government discusses salient issues and most of those issues are well-known to the media but for the purposes of clarity, I can go around the grounds again.
“There’s one funding for renaissance of public universities and the issue of Earn Academic Allowances, EAA, the issue of Staff Schools that there was a court judgment, the issue of National Universities Pension Commission, and the problem of salary deficits for lecturers and staff of universities.
“There is the issue of TSA exclusion and the problems in the state universities. All these are issues that ASUU felt that government should address.
“Most of these issues emanated from the 2009 agreement that government had ASUU and also from the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding, that the government had with ASUU.
“Government is a field, most of those issues were not issues that cropped up from Buhari’s administration, and we inherited them. But be that as it may, like I said, government is a continuum. So we are to really address those issues,we inherited them but there are issues concerning the welfare of our people.
“So, on the issue of funding for the revitalization of public universities, this negotiating team discussed in detail and comprehensively on that. This is the fund that would be required for the revitalization of public universities in terms of their working tools and other things needed for effective performance of their duties.
“There was an agreement from the MOU of 2009 and that of 2013, for government to be making some quarterly payments into this fund. And from 2014 to date, it has not been feasible for government to pay or they didn’t pay. But this government has been negotiating with ASUU since last year.
“Today, there’s is a government proposal which we all agreed that it can be workable. But ASUU has to take back this proposal to their organs, so we decided that there’s an agreement for government to make some funds obtainable in September and October to show that they are not renouncing their agreement and to also show sign of good faith.
“However, because of incapability of government to pay the required amount which is at N220 billion, a seven-man committee was planned and ASUU leadership is expected to send in three nominees into this committee. It’s a technical committee so to say, a working committee and they would send in the three-man nomination, the Minister of Education will appoint three persons to represent the federal government and the chairman, making four to bring the number to seven.
“ASUU will also send in their proposal for testing terms of reference for the committee to the minister. We expect that that will be done today since today is already a Friday.
“This committee is expected to work out the ways and means for the government and ASUU to actualize the aspirations as per the 2013 MOU.This is without prejudice to the Babalakin committee on the re-negotiation of the 2009 MOU between the Federal Government and ASUU.
“On the issue of Earn Academic Allowances, we have listened and payment has started in that direction which is same with staff schools.
“Government is though not appealing, we have agreed that the decision should be conveyed to the various universities.
“Issue of NUPENCO was addressed and ways have been fashioned out for the registration of that company.
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“Salary shortfalls for lecturers and university staff were also addressed and government has shown their dedication and evidence that payments have started in order to settle the outstanding allowances.
“The issue of TSA exemption was also discussed and an agreement or proposal was muted by which the Central Bank would a special account for that in order for donation of funds and research grants will be excluded.
“A state university which has been the concern for ASUU and everybody who has been looking for valuable education in the country was also discussed and the Minister of Education was permitted to take the memo to the council of state and the Federal Executive Council.
“Based on these discussions, ASUU leadership will consult with its organs and go back to government within one week. They will confer with with their organs with a view to calling off the strike. And we expect them that within one week, they will get back to government.”
Ogunyemi spoke very briefly:”We have had useful discussions and we had some strong proposals that we will take back to our members as part of our consultations. And like the Honourable Minister of Labour has said, we plan to come back here to take decisions as advised by our members.”