Government has done its best to resolve ASUU strike- Minister
Urges VC’s to appeal to sticking lecturers to return to classrooms
The Federal Government says it has made every effort to resolve the concerns the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is clinging on to for the ongoing protracted strike of the union.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja while meeting with the vice-chancellors, pro-chancellors, and management of federal universities over the ongoing strike.
He said “We have done the best that we can in the circumstance. After Inter-ministerial consultations and rounds of hard negotiations with all government agencies, we interacted with the Unions. I personally, gave it all it required to resolve the current challenges. I met the Unions anywhere and everywhere possible with facts, with figures, and with absolute sincerity. For example, I directly met with ASUU leadership in my house, in my office and at the ASUU Secretariat on several different occasions, in addition to other formal engagements going on.
The Minister announced that the government has agreed to allocate the sum of 150 billion Naira in the 2023 Budget for the revitalization of Federal Universities, noting that the money will be distributed to the institutions in the first quarter of the following year.
Adamu also maintained that the sum of 50 billion Naira shall also be provided for in the 2023 Budget for the payment of outstanding areas of earned academic allowances, to be paid in the First Quarter of the year.
“The Federal Government can only afford a 23.5% salary increase for all categories of the workforce in Federal Universities, except for the professorial cadre which will enjoy a 35% upward review;
“Henceforth allowances that pertain to ad-hoc duties of the academic and non-academic staff shall be paid as at when due by the Governing Councils of Universities to which such services are rendered and to the staff who perform them;
He, therefore, enjoined councils and senates of all public universities in the country to rise up to their responsibilities and ensure that institutions reopen their doors to students who according to him are the principal victims of the unending strikes.
“This meeting has become necessary and urgent due to certain. misconceptions and misinformation in the public domain, regarding the ongoing strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“We must, together, continue to work to restore our public universities to where they were in the 60s and 70s. As the most important officers in our university system, Pro Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors, must demonstrate more commitment to ending the ongoing strike. As Chairmen of Councils and Senates – the highest policy and academic bodies in the system – you must consider it your paramount duty to promote policies and actions that will discourage industrial disputes in our campuses. The government will continue to support the physical and academic development of its universities. The government will continue to reasonably enhance the working conditions of all university staff, academic and non-teaching.
“The main challenge, as you are fully aware, is dwindling resources available to address all the concerns of the citizenry. We thank you for your support, understanding and sacrifices.
Speaking further, he said “In all, we have been doing, our guide has been the directive of Mr President Muhammadu Buhari, namely, that while the unions should be persuaded to return to work, Government should not repeat the past mistakes of accepting to sign an agreement it will be unable to implement. Government should not, in the guise of resolving current challenges, sow seeds for future disruptions.
“To be frank with all the Unions, especially with ASUU, one major issue over which Government and the Unions could not reach an amicable agreement was the issue of the law on “No work, No pay”. In the spirit of sincerity, the Government made it clear that it would not break the law. And on this, I must, openly and once again, thank all the Unions which made the sacrifice of understanding the position of Government on the matter.
“The President of ASUU has been reported to have said the Union would no longer negotiate with the current Federal Government. This position must be resisted. Government and ASUU have no option than to continue talking, until our Universities have reopened their doors to students who, clearly, are the principal victims of the seemingly unending strikes. In the circumstances, therefore, all Councils and Senates of our Universities are enjoined to rise up to their responsibilities.