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House of Reps seeks speedy implementation of agreements as ASUU, others threaten strikes

By Collins Olayinka and Msugh Ityokura, Abuja
17 November 2021   |   3:46 am
The House of Representatives, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to open a realistic negotiation with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to stave another round of strike by the lecturers.

The House of Representatives, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to open a realistic negotiation with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to stave another round of strike by the lecturers.

It advised the government to urgently implement the earlier agreements reached with the union in the interest of students, parents and the education sector.

Moving the motion, which led to the resolution during plenary yesterday in Abuja, the member representing Owan Federal Constituency of Edo State in the lower legislative chamber, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, lamented the level of insincerity on the part of the government.

He said: “We are embarrassed that the Federal Government has, since the last strike was called off in December, 2020, continued to pass the buck, make excuses and engage in diversions and distractions rather than meet the terms of agreement it signed with the union.”

The lawmakers noted with dismay, the threat by ASUU, to once again proceed on another industrial action on a matter that has been on the front burner for so long, regretting the non-implementation of negotiated agreements with the government

“The Federal Government has not been quite forthcoming, neither has it attached any consistent seriousness to the urgent need to reposition and refocus the education sector in line with our developmental objectives,” Ihonvbere added.

THIS comes as workers in the education and health sectors gear up for an indefinite industrial action due to non-implementation of agreements and inconsistencies in the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

National President of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Hassan Makolo, who gave the hint yesterday in Abuja during the body’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, said the rank and file were restless and pushing for immediate strike

“Except something is done very urgently to redress this very retrogressive and blatant disregard for national laws and provisions of ILO Constitution and recommendations, which is at the heart of its decent work agenda, industrial relations practices in Nigeria will become an issue of self-help, brutish and nasty. It has become impossible for the union to continue to preach procedures to our restive members. We can no longer restrain our members from taking lawful actions that will get them what is due to them,” he stated.

Makolo said the biggest challenge confronting the labour movement in Nigeria was refusal of the Federal Government to honour or honestly implement collective agreements freely entered into with unions.

He added: “We have a Memorandum of Action (MoA), which the Federal Government entered into with our union in respect of our members in the universities and inter-university centres which they have bluntly refused to honour. We have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which we entered into with the government in respect of our members in research institutes almost four years ago and the government has remained lackadaisical and continued to show nonchalance with respect to its implementation. The same situation exists with federal colleges of education and polytechnics across the length and breadth of the country.”

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