UNIPORT ASUU VOTES FOR CONTINUATION OF STRIKE

Spread the love

RESPECT COLLECTIVE BARGAINING: ASUU TELLS FGN

 

1. The public space, in the last few days, has been inundated with myriads of news regarding the inability of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to resolve the over six months” impasse between it and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday, 16th August, 2022. The unpalatable outcome of the meeting, following the Federal Govemment’s abandonment of the draft renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement and failure to address any of the other issues that led to the strike, have affirmed our doubt regarding the Federal Government’s commitment towards ending the current strike.

 

2. Our Union was forced into the present strike on 14th February, 2022 following the refusal of the FG to honour the terms of the Agreement Memorandum of Action (MoA) which led to the conditional suspension of the last strike in December, 2020. Some of the terms of the MOA include the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN- ASUU Agreement which covers funding, conditions of service, university autonomy and academic freedom; the deployment of University



Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) a payment platform suitable for the payment of personnel emoluments in universities, payment of promotion arrears and earned academic allowances, amendment of the NUC Act to check proliferation of state universities; among others.

 

3. By the terms of the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement, renegotiation of the Agreement has been due since 2012 (10 years ago). However, it took our Union several years of concerted and consistent efforts

to bring the Federal Government to the renegotiation table in 2017 with Dr Wale Babalakin as the Leader of the Federal Government’s Team and the Chairman of the Committee. The whole process of renegotiation under Dr Wale Babalakin’s leadership dragged for.

unproductive three years before Emeritus Professor Munzali ibril was appointed to replace him as the Chairman of the Committee in 2020. 1t took the Federal Government almost one calendar year to make an official response regarding the Draft Agreement produced by Emeritus Professor Munzali Jibril led Committee, and what ensued was the reconstitution of the Renegotiation Committee by the Federal Government with Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs as the Chairman.

 

4. It is saddening to note that the Federal Government on Tuesday, 16th August, 2022, shamelessly abandoned the Draft Agreement which is a product of collective bargaining between it (represented by the Briggs Committee) and our Union, to award us a miserly salary package. One wonders why, a Government that cries of paucity of funds on a daily basis, will waste so much resources and time on renegotiating an Agreement it is not willing to sign and implement.

 

5. In line with relevant labour laws such as Boards and Industrial Council’s Decree No. 1 of 1973, The Trade Dispute Act of 1976, ILO Conventions (1948, 1950 and 1988), Udoji Commission Report of 1974, Cookey Commission Report of 1981, among others,

 

Agreements between the Federal Government and our Union since 1981, have been based on the principles of collective bargaining.

6. It is quite unfortunate and regrettable that the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu whose ineptitude led to and prolonged this avoidable strike, has gone on air to misinform the public in a manner that is characteristic of the Nigerian ruling class,

on why the meeting of 16th August, 2022, between the Nimi Briggs led Committee and ASUU did not yield any meaningful result, instead of tendering unreserved apology to Nigerians for an abysmally poor outing in the Ministry of Education. He was

nowhere to be found at a time he was supposed to have taken proactive steps to prevent the strike and just one month into the strike, he stopped our salaries thinking that the deployment of the weapon of starvation will weaken and scuttle our collective resolve.

 

7. It is very sad and typical of the ruling class to lie without remorse. While the dis-honourable Minister of Education would lie to Nigerians that all issues have been resolved apart from the withheld salaries, Nigerians should ask him to provide the evidence of: (a) the release of the revitalization fund as claimed by him, (b) the signed renegotiated agreement; (c) the amended National Universities Commission Act geared towards empowering NUC to curtail proliferation of state universities without funding them as the case in most states; (d) the instrument authorizing the adoption of UTAS, as all Nigerians have become fully aware that IPPIS failed the integrity test woefully as attested to by the Minister for Communication and Digital Economy: (d) the payment of the outstanding EAAS; and (e) the white papers on the visitation report for the Federal universities.

 

8. Nigerians should be aware of offers the so-called minister came up with. These are: (a) one hundred and seventy billion naira for revitalization in the 2023 budget; (b) a promise to increase by sixty thousand naira (N60,000) the salary ofa Professor at the bar in next year’s budget; (c) no statement on the amendment of the NUC act gathering dust at the national assembly (d) payment of two tranches of outstanding EAA in next year’s budget; (d) a promise to adopt UTAS; and (e) another promise to release the white papers.

9. Imagine the level of deceitfuiness by the Minister! A promise to fulfill demands in an election year? We did not embark on strike for over six months geared towards improving our public universities only to come back with mere promissory notes from a Government that is notorious for reneging on agreements. I’m sure Nigerians wouid not forgive us.

 

10. On the issue of withheld salaries, and the claim that we do not deserve the salaries. We challenge the government to prove if the unproductive staff of our moribund refineries and other agencies of similar nature are not being paid. They should also justify why unproductive politicians that are responsible for the current comatose state of Nigeria, are receiving humongous salaries and allowances. For the avoidance of doubt, teaching is only one of the

assignments we undertake as lecturers. It only earns a candidate going for promotion a maximum of one point per year. Research and community service are the core requirements for promotion.

 

11.The current move by the Federal Government to jettison the principle of collective bargaining and reduce our Union’s objective and patriotic struggle to revamp and reposition public universities in Nigeria to mere award of miserly salaries, ranging from N30,

000 to N60, 000 is unacceptable to us.

 

12.The Federal Government through the Ministry of Education should demonstrate good faith in resolving the current strike by returning to the new Draft Agreement produced by the third Renegotiation

Committee they constituted and addressing all other related issues.

 

13.From the statement of the Minister of Education asking students to take ASUU to Court for compensation, he appears to be surprised that Nigerians are yet to take the Federal Government to Court to request for compensation for the untold hardship it has inflicted on Nigerians for over seven years.

 

14. We call on the Minister for Education to resign for demonstrating cross incompetence ever since he assumed duty contrary to what he promised before his appointment and during his ministerial screening, as his tenure hass witnessed the greatest level of instability in the tertiary education sector.

 

15.Thank you.

 

Signed:

Stanley Ogoun

Zonal Coordinator

19th August, 2022.

About Post Author


Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *