The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) called off its over one-month old strike on Monday,18th September,2017 after reaching an agreement with the Federal Government.
The ASUU President, Professor Ogunyemi Abiodun, announced after a meeting with the union’s executive committee that they would suspend the industrial action for one month till end of October. According to Professor Abiodun, this was to allow Government enough time to fulfill its promises as contained in the recent agreement with them. To this end, the union directed university lecturers to resume duty effective from Tuesday 19 September, 2017.
The union had embarked on an indefinite strike on Sunday, 13 August, 2017, following Government’s failure to implement the agreement reached with the union in November 2016.
Sources in the Labour Ministry indicated that ASUU’s decision to suspend the strike was reached after four hours closed door meeting with the Federal Government delegation led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.
At the meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the union’s President, Professor Abiodun and Dr. Ngige on behalf of the federal government. Others who signed the document were: President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade AyubaWabba; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Architect Sonny Echono; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi; as well as other members of the government team.
Highlights of the agreement reached included funding of government universities, payment of earned academic allowances, government responsibility as regards academic staff schools (primary wing), pension matters for professors, payment of salary shortfalls on which implementation has already commenced and resolution on exemption of Treasury Single Account (TSA) payment system in certain areas.
In his reaction, Dr. Ngige said the grey areas were conclusively dealt with to the satisfaction of both parties which he attributed to the spirit of give and take exhibited by both parties with great acknowledgement of the economic situation of the country.
Expressing hope that ASUU would call off the strike, the Labour and Employment Minister said: “ASUU will go back to consult its organ with a view to calling off the strike. We hope to hear good news from them in the next 24 hours so that our children can go back to class. They got nearly everything they wanted”.
Reacting, ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi said: “Government will hear us in the next 24 hours. It could even be less than that because our members are waiting for us”.
Professor Ogunyemi, who promised that the union would not rest on its oars until the country’s university education system is transformed, said it was high time Nigeria returned to the era of being an educational tourist destination for other African countries. He appreciated the Labour Minister and his Education counterpart, as well as other stakeholders that were involved in the series of consultations that resulted in the milestone reached through the signed agreement.
Meanwhile the Monday Bulletin team had reported in the last edition of a possible end to the strike with the union agreeing to consider the Federal Government’s offer at a meeting held on Thursday 7 September, which lasted for about 13 hours in Abuja.