The Federal Government has said that it will explore the provisions in the Labour law and other channels if the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) insists on continuing with its strike action.
This position from the government was disclosed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige while appearing on a discussion programme on Channels Television, where he also pointed out that the Federal Government has been able to meet 6 out of ASSU’s 9 point demands.
Ngige was, however, hopeful that the dispute with ASUU, who has been on strike for over 7 months, will be resolved when the Federal Government team meets with the union leaders again sometime next week.
The minister said, “Even if countries go to war, at the end of the day they come to the negotiation table. I’m inviting them (ASUU) next week. We are doing side meetings on our part and we are collating everything. I’m collating responses from the Accountant General of the Federation’s Office and everybody who has something to do with this matter.’’
On the likelihood of the lecturers returning to classrooms in the next 1 or 2 weeks, Ngige said, “I’m not looking at that (long) period. I’m an optimist on this matter. By next week, we will conclude this matter. There are so many options left. We have the labour laws and I have options left to me in the labour laws. I have other channels.”
What you should know
It can be recalled that ASUU has been on strike since March 24, 2020, following a dispute with the Federal Government over the implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) which the union said is riddled with inconsistencies and works against the autonomy of the universities.
ASUU alternatively developed its own homegrown payment platform, University Transparency Account System (UTAS), which the Federal Government had agreed to look at.
“UTAS has yet to be ready but the government will not discourage them. And we have told them there is no need using the same old method of strike to make demands since such had been deployed since 2017,” Ngige said.