ASUU strike: FG replaces Education Minister in negotiations, blasts Falana  - Naijaray
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ASUU strike: FG replaces Education Minister in negotiations, blasts Falana 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has taken over the negotiation between the Federal government and the striking university teachers.

This is to avoid unnecessary meddlesomeness and ensure speedy resolution of all issues.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had been leading the negotiation with ASUU, but Ngige, said last night that he had taken over the negotiation by the power conferred on him by section 5 of the Trade Dispute Act.

In a statement issued on Wednesday night, the Minister also condemned the statement made by Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), describing as illegal, the enforcement of Sec. 43.1 of the Trade Dispute Act 2004 on the No Work No Pay provision.

Falana had described the enforcement of the provisions as illegal and asked the Federal Government to immediately withdraw what he termed an “illegal order” emanating therefrom.

“In this particular issue of Federal Government/ASUU negotiation, the Minister had earlier in the exercise of his powers sent back the conciliation to the Federal Ministry of Education as he noticed during the first meeting that both parties have not exhausted the internal conciliation mechanism.

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“Knowing that ASUU and her members are on essential services as contained in the Trade Dispute Act, the Minister of Labour has therefore directed that the matter is re-apprehended back into his Ministry to avoid unnecessary meddlesomeness by external interlopers as well as to ensure speedy resolution of all issues to enable ASUU to call off the strike.

“Hence, the Hon. Minister in the exercise of his powers in section 5 of the Trade Dispute Act has re-apprehended the dispute and invited all parties to a meeting. By this, all further discussions between the Ministry of Education and ASUU will now recommence at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

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“A meeting has been convened for Monday, December 10, 2018, at the Conference Room of the Minister of Labour and Employment by 4 p.m.prompt. The Ministry will also further investigate the media report credited to Mr Falana to ascertain whether he actually quoted those Supreme Court judgments, knowing full well that they are tangential and that they neither anchor nor dwell on provisions of section 43 of Trade Dispute Act T8 (LFN 2004) before it will take further necessary action,” a statement signed by the Director (Press), Ministry of Labour and Employment, Prince Samuel Olowookere, read.

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Education

ASUU Strike Continues As Union Leaders Walk Out Of Meeting With FG


The Federal Government’s effort to end the ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has suffered another setback as it failed to reach an agreement with the leaders of the union again.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, presided over a resumed negotiation with the striking university lecturers on Monday at the ministry in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Unlike previous meetings which ended inconclusively, ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, led other leaders of the union out of the meeting.

Professor Ogunyemi, however, refused to speak to reporters about why the union leaders walked out of the meeting which lasted about two hours.

Earlier, the minister assured the ASUU leaders that attention would be paid to three critical demands which included salary shortfalls, university revitalization, and earned allowances of ASUU members.

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With the recent development, academic activities will remain grounded in concerned universities across the country after the ASUU president said earlier that the union would wait until today before taking a decision on whether or not to suspend the industrial action.

A similar meeting with the minister last week was adjourned till today when the minister was expected to brief the striking lecturers on areas that the Federal Government has agreed to implement from their long list of demands.

ASUU began the total nationwide strike in November after a meeting of its national leadership at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, the Ondo State capital.

READ ALSO  ASUP to begin nationwide indefinite strike on Wednesday

The industrial action was to protest the poor funding of Nigerian Universities and the alleged plot to increase students’ fees in some institutions.

Among other issues raised by the union include the introduction of an education bank and the non-implementation of previous agreements.

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Education

ASUU strike: FG reveals when students will return to class 

The Federal Government has said that talks with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have so far been fruitful, expressing optimism that the ongoing strike by the university teachers, will soon be called off.

According to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, this is predicated on the FG’s consideration of some of ASUU’s demands, including the submission of the union’s list of outstanding payments, and the identification of some areas in the universities in need of revitalisation as contained in the signed 2009 agreement.

Ngige said: “There are areas that are still outstanding which we are going to address on the 17th. We have the issue of shortfall of salaries, that of some federal university workers. ASUU has given a list to the office of the Accountant General.

“We agreed that by Wednesday that the list will be checked to find out really whether those universities were actually paid and they have to be visited and paid the outstanding lecturers there. So, the Accountant General’s office is to come back to us.

READ ALSO  Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics to begin nationwide strike on December 12

“We have also the issue of Earned Academic Allowance and the issue of revitalisation. These are issues of 2009 agreement. We will look into the consideration and we have identified one area of the fund for revitalisation.

“The federal government organs will be contacted and we do expect that we will have some words for ASUU. Same goes for the earned allowances. We will make sure that the issue of the outstanding amounts is handled in a way that all parties will be properly accommodated,” he said.

Ngige revealed that during the talks, the quality of graduates from state-owned universities was brought to focus, with a view to upgrading the standard of education in order to meet with global standards.

“We also discussed the issue of state universities and since education is on concurrent list, the universities should be properly funded and staffed, so that we do not produce half baked graduates from those universities. And towards realising that, the ministry of education will engage the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. The minister of education is taking steps towards that direction and will organise that interaction.

READ ALSO  ASUP to begin nationwide indefinite strike on Wednesday

“Engaging them directly and giving professional advice is what the ministry will do. These are some of the issues we discussed and to me; the discussions were fruitful. We want the children to go back to school,” he added.

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Education

FG, ASUU To Meet On Monday To End Strike


The Director of Press at the minister’s office, Samuel Olowookere, who made this known to our correspondent in Abuja on Friday, said negotiation for solutions to the issues tabled by ASUU was an ongoing issue.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, will meet the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday (tomorrow) to conclude the negotiation on the suspension of the strike by ASUU, which has entered the sixth week.

ASUU had claimed that the strike was informed by the poor funding of the nation’s universities and staff remuneration that led to the union’s ongoing strike, which began on November 5.

The Director of Press at the minister’s office, Samuel Olowookere, who made this known to our correspondent in Abuja on Friday, said negotiation for solutions to the issues tabled by ASUU was an ongoing issue.

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“Labour minister is again meeting with ASUU on Monday by 4pm. You may wish to attend,” he said in a text message without elaborating.

Olowookere however refused to give the details of the partial agreement said to have been reached by both parties in their last meeting.

Last week, the Federal Government and ASUU reached a partial agreement after the union leadership met the minister last Monday evening.

Ngige said the meeting touched on some areas of misunderstanding in the implementation of the Memorandum of Action signed in 2017.

He said, “Some of these areas, we have substantial compliance and some other areas have not been fully dealt with like the issue of shortfall in salaries of some federal universities’ workers and lecturers.

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“ASUU has given a list to the Accountant General’s Office and we have agreed that by Wednesday, that list should be cross-checked by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Auditing.”

The minister said sources, where funds could be realised for revitalisation of the universities, had been recognised, adding that appropriate government organ would be contacted on the issue.

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