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May 21, 2020 at 9:31 AMLambert
The academic staff union of universities (ASUU) said it is ready to discuss and make concrete agreements on contending issues with a view to ending the ongoing strike.
The statement was made against the background of the demand by the federal government for ASUU to call off its strike before resumption of the next phase of negotiations.
The president of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the union is ready for negotiations, but that the suspension of the strike would be dependent on how the federal government responds to its key demands.
He listed the demands to include earned academic allowances, revitalisation, presidential visitation panel to federal universities, and proliferation of universities by state governors.
Ogunyemi said the way forward is “that we should talk; the government should open a space for discussion, as we are ready to discuss and make concrete agreements on those issues we have raised;“Earned academic allowances, revitalization, presidential visitation panel to federal universities, discuss the proliferation of universities by state governors and government issues in state universities, as the establishment of universities has been turned into constituency projects.
“The final issue I will raise is about renegotiation which we have been on for more than three years, and a stop must be put to it. When you put all these five issues together, you will see that we had a genuine reason to go on strike, and if the government twon’t put an end to it with prejudice to what we are doing to support the health sector, we will continue to do that.”
While reacting to the statement by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, that lecturers should reciprocate the olive branch which the government has offered in paying their salaries while on strike, Ogunyemi said salaries were not part of the issues being negotiated.
Recall that Federal Government, had earlier, called on the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to suspend the strike and return to the classroom to manufacture drugs for the cure of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It pointedly told the union to suspend the industrial action, began in March despite universities being under closure as part of plans to combat the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, before the resumption of negotiations.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, told newsmen at the weekend that the federal government has demonstrated enough goodwill by paying salaries of the striking lecturers, urging them to discontinue their strike to allow for peaceful negotiations of their dispute
“It is immoral and despicable for those who should be conducting research as Nigerians for the discovery of new drugs and medical equipment that will be used during COVID-19 period to say that they are at home playing Ludo and Draft and other games,” he said.
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