Tuesday 22 November 2016

ASUU continues strike even after meeting with Senate, warns of indefinite strike

An attempt by the Senate to bring to an end the lingering crisis between the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Federal Government, failed Monday after an eight-hour meeting between both sides was deadlocked.

The two sides failed to agree on lecturers’ earned allowances.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFund, Jibrin Barau, disclosed this Monday night in Abuja.
The Senate had last Tuesday resolved to mediate between the Federal Government and ASUU. The lecturers want improved pay and work conditions.
ASUU declared a warning strike a day before the Senate’s resolution, complaining about the failure of the government to implement terms of the 2009 and 2013 agreements. The strike ends Wednesday amid fears of a looming indefinite strike.
Monday’s meeting with the union resolved all issues except earned allowances, Mr. Barau, APC Senator representing Kano South, said.
“You can see that we’ve been talking for about eight hours,” said Mr. Barau.
“We have deliberated and, thanks to God, we have resolved all the issues; we have agreed on all issues except one.
“It is about the earned allowances that need to be paid to the university lecturers. The government, due to paucity of fund, proposed a certain amount of money but ASUU thought otherwise; that the money was quite inadequate. The union said it was going back to its members, make consultations and get back to us. We do hope they will come back with good news.”
He however could not say when the next meeting to resolve pending issues would hold.
“Every section in this meeting will go back to their base or constituency and report what transpired and at a later date reconvene to trash out the remaining issues,” Mr. Barau said.
He said the next meeting would.
While declaring the warning strike, ASUU president, Biodun Ogunyemi, said at the University of Abuja on Monday, “Many aspects of the 2013 MoU and the 2009 agreement with the Federal Government have either been unimplemented or despairingly handled.
“The agreements are: Payments of staff entitlements since December 2015, funding of universities for revitalisation, pension, TSA and university autonomy and renegotiation of 2009 Agreement.”
Mr. Barau had told the Senate that ASUU was agitating for the smooth running of public universities and staff welfare.
Meanwhile the teachers are threatening to go on an indefinite strike if their demands are not met.
A meeting with the Senate on Monday failed to resolve the issues.
Ifeanyi Abada, the Chairman of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) Chapter of the Academic staff Union of Universities (ASUU), made this known on Tuesday in Nsukka, Enugu State.
“ASUU was left with no option than to proceed on the one-week warning strike; failure to meet our demands, we will go on an indefinite strike,” Mr. Abada told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said that the chapter complied fully with the warning strike directive.
“The National Executive Committee (NEC) made efforts to resolve this issue with the government but government remained unyielding.
“The strike compliance in UNN is total, no lectures, no examinations, no departmental and faculty meetings, as members will not participate.
“UNN chapter will not renege on the directive of the national body until government addresses all the issues raised.
“Our monitoring team is moving round; any lecturer found teaching will be sanctioned accordingly,’’ he said.
According to Mr. Abada, among the demands of ASUU is that universities be exempted from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.
He noted that ASUU was also demanding the Federal Government’s implementation of an agreement it entered into with ASUU in 2009.
Amarachi Okafor, a student of the UNN’s Department of Psychology, urged the government to meet ASUU’s demands to avoid an indefinite strike.
“I urge ASUU to consider the plight of students, who will be spending extra years as well as their parents who have been sponsoring them,” she added.
Another student, Emma Ochi of the Department of Mass Communication, pleaded with ASUU to consider the interest of students and avoid an indefinite strike.
“I want Federal Government and ASUU to resolve their misunderstanding amicably in the interest of students and tertiary education in this country,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, academic activities are still paralysed in the university as a result of the warning strike.

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