On the Latest ASUU Strike Update today, The federal government has reaffirmed its commitment to renegotiating the terms of employment for all public university employees across the country.
On Monday in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, received members of the government side of the re-negotiation committee for the 2009 Federal Government/University Based Unions Agreement, led by its Chairman, Nimi Briggs.
Mr Ngige said this in a statement signed by Patience Onuobia, the Acting Head, Press and Public Relations, in the ministry.
The minister was speaking in the midst of the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike, which is still ongoing (ASUU).
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He said that as conciliator, he has been working hard to ensure that everything in the 2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached by the government and the union is implemented, including the renegotiated positions.
The renegotiation began in 2017 when the Federal Government established a committee chaired by Wale Babalakin, who was later replaced by Munzali Jibril, but COVID-19 struck in 2020, he said.
According to the minister, in the December 2020 agreement, he gave the government a deadline to return to the university unions, which are their employees, to sort things out.
“I started pushing to see that things were done. What the Munzali committee came up with is a proposal. Both Munzali and ASUU did not sign. At our last meeting in February before ASUU proceeded on strike, we said everyone should go back to his principal.
”I asked Education several times what they had done with the document. We later got information on areas of disagreement. There is nothing wrong with that. It is bound to happen. I told ASUU to put up a committee, they said Munzali committee had expired.
“As a conciliator, I have to make use of the labour instruments at my disposal. The bosses in the Federal Ministry of Education do not feel the strike. There are things that are above me. I am not Minister of Education.
”I cannot go to the Education Minister and dictate to him how to run his place. But I told ASUU that you should be bombarding them at the Federal Ministry of Education for this to be moved forward. There are many ways to do so,” he said.
According to him, if you go to the labour act there is something called picketing. You can picket, strike is an ultimate thing.
“Picketing means that you can stay at the corridor, clapping or singing. Workers are permitted to do so. But everytime there is a disagreement, it is strike.”
“It is the children and some of us parents that have our children in public schools. I have my children in public universities, including those on my foundation’s scholarship and sponsorship.
“So, I am a parent. I feel it. I didn’t send my children to Igbinedion or Afe Babalola or Cambridge,” he said.
He said the Nigerian university system produced him and he remains proud of it.
“Why won’t I support if ASUU and their unions now want a renegotiation of their conditions of service, which is the main thing in the proposal by previous Munzali committee.”
Also speaking, Mr Briggs, who is also the Pro Chancellor of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndifu Alike, Ebonyi State, said the renegotiation committee was consulting all stakeholders with a view to finding a lasting solution to issues in dispute (NAN).
Mr Briggs, who is also the Pro Chancellor of Alex Ekwueme Federal University in Ndifu Alike, Ebonyi State, also spoke, saying the renegotiation committee was consulting all stakeholders in order to find a long-term solution to the issues at hand (NAN).
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