The Minister of Labor and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has expressed optimism that the prolonged strike launched by the Union of Academic Personnel of Universities will be resolved next week when the Federal Government team meets again with union leaders.
However, he said that if the matter is not resolved by then, he will study the provisions of labor law and other channels. The government had previously asked the union to cancel the strike.
The union had embarked on an indefinite strike on March 24, 2020, due to the Federal Government’s failure to comply with the 2019 Memorandum of Action between them, as well as the persistent disagreement over the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System that ASUU rejected.
Speaking on Politics Today on Channels Television on Friday, the minister said the government had complied with six of the union’s nine demands and that they would meet again next week in hopes of ending the long strike.
He stated: “Even if countries go to war, at the end of the day they come to the negotiating table. I invite you (ASUU) next week. We are doing side meetings on our part and we are collating everything. I am checking the answers of the General Accountant of the Federation and of all those who have something to do with this matter.
When asked if that meant teachers would not be returning to classrooms for the next week or two, he said, “I’m not looking at that (long) period. I am optimistic on this matter. For next week, we will conclude this matter. So many options remain. We have labor laws and I have options in labor laws. I have other channels. “
The minister, who said his children had also been at home as a result of the strike, He explained that the government had agreed to give a test to the Academic Solution for University Transparency, the payment platform proposed by ASUU. However, it said that feedback it received from the National Information Technology Development Agency, the agency in charge of following up on the trial with ASUU, showed that they had just concluded the first phase and that the second phase to assess the requirement UTAS functionality had not been completed. done.
He added, “UTAS is not ready yet but the government will not discourage them. And we have told them that there is no need to use the same old strike method to make demands, as they have been deployed since 2017 ”.
Regarding the revitalization fund, he said that the government had agreed to release N30bn of the N40bn demanded by the union as payment for November 2019 and September 2020, adding that the remaining N10bn would be staggered.
“A committee that looked at the University Needs Assessment conducted a workshop on how funds could be generated and came up with a recommendation that other things could be done to raise funds, because revitalization cannot be done through the budget, especially when the country is running a deficit budget, “added Ngige
Source: – Punch ng