The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has hinted that its University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) might finally have been accepted by the Federal Government as the platform to be used for the payment of salaries of university lecturers.
This is as the union has said that they are scheduled to meet with the Federal Government representatives on Tuesday over its prolonged strike.
The salary payment platform has been one of the major areas of disagreement between ASUU and the Federal Government as the lecturers union had rejected the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS) which is being used.
This was made known by ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, while speaking on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, on Monday night, where he said that the parties in the meeting will discuss one of the seven issues ASUU is protesting over.
Osodeke said that the strike is not just about their salaries, but has to do with the system, funding, structure, autonomy, and other issues concerning university administration.
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What the ASUU President is saying
Osodeke during the interview said, “That is the issue of renegotiation, the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.
“It is not just about wages. It has to do with the system, funding, the structure, the autonomy and other issues; and how to fund universities.
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“The government has reduced it to just salaries alone. But if they had looked at the whole agreement and implemented it, we will not be talking about funding.”
Professor Osodeke suggested that if Tuesday’s meeting goes well, the strike action may be called off.
He said, “We are willing to sign.’’
FG agrees to implement UTAS
On what must be done to get the education sector back on its feet, the ASUU President said, ‘’The issues of IPPIS and UTAS has been put to rest because the test has been done and as has been agreed with the Chief of Staff, UTAS will be implemented to cover the university. Two, if this government is serious, this strike will not last more than two weeks. You recall we were going to go on strike in November, we didn’t start it.
‘’They met with the president, he set up a committee headed by the Chief of Staff that should resolve this quickly, the world saw it in the press, they did nothing. The president set up the Munzali committee, we met them finish, nothing, they didn’t come back. They set up the Nimi Briggs committee, it’s now more than three months, two months we finished negotiating with them, they didn’t come back.
‘’The president directed the Ministry of Education to finish within two weeks, two weeks has passed, they didn’t come back.’’
What you should know
- ASUU had on February 14, 2022, embarked on a 4-week total and comprehensive strike to press home their unresolved demands on the federal government.
- Some of the lecturers’ demands include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, payment of earned academic allowances, and adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a preferred payment option, instead of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and payment of promotion arrears.
- Others are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement and the resolution of inconsistencies in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS)
- ASUU on May 9, further extended its ongoing strike by another 12 weeks to give the government enough time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues after an extension on March 14 due to an alleged lack of seriousness on the part of the federal government.
- The Federal Government’s Briggs renegotiation committee, had since April 2022, been meeting with ASUU and other labour unions in the universities, who are all currently on strike due to its dispute with the government and non-resolution of demands of the 2009 agreements signed with the federal government.
- The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had on July 26 and 27, embarked on a 2-day nationwide protest in solidarity with the ongoing strike action by ASUU aimed at pressurizing the Federal Government to conclude negotiations with striking universities unions and ensure that public universities resume for normal activities, among others.
- Also, President Muhammadu Buhari had on July 19 directed the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to proffer a solution to the challenge and report back to him in 2 weeks. The president’s ultimatum had since elapsed without any resolution yet.
- However, ASUU remained adamant in its resolve to press on with its demand as it once again on August 1 extended its ongoing strike by another 4 weeks to give the Federal Government more time to resolve outstanding issues in its dispute with it