ASUU Strike: Government & Union To Reach A Concession As FG Extends Olive Branch
Striking members of the Academic Union of Universities; ASUU have said they’re open to renegotiation and possible concession.
Lecturers of the union had gone on an indefinite strike earlier last month to protest a new policy of the federal government.
This was few days before the federal government closed educational institutions as part of measures to contain the virus.
The policy states every federal staff must be enrolled into a new payroll scheme; Integrated Personnel and Pay Roll System ( IPPIS).
The IPPIS scheme became necessary to fight ghost workers and arrest corruption in the civil service.
However, ASUU refused to accept the new scheme alleging IPPIS is an “imposition” by the World Bank.
ASUU also claims that IPPIS would extinguish university autonomy and came up with a different accountability platform for the universities; University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS.
The Federal reached a provisional agreement to integrate UTAS into into the IPPIS, still ASUU was adamant in its refusal.
The Federal Government in January 2020 stopped paying salaries of ASUU members who were not enrolled on IPPIS.
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However, there’s speculation that the federal government will release withheld salaries of ASUU members as a form of olive branch to quicken the resolution of the crisis in the education sector.
President of the union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who spoke to THISDAY Newsmen said the union understands the uncertain times the country is in and is ready for a renegotiation.
“We are not oblivious of what is happening in our country and across the globe regarding the economic downturn that followed this COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the issue of whether we are going to give concession or not is something that has to be discussed at the negotiating table,” he said
When asked if the union will discontinue the strike as the country battles this pandemic he said:
“I am not in a position to determine that but what is on the ground now is that the crisis that had emerged because of the COVID-19 attack had shown us that we should be part of the process of finding solutions and we are playing our part.
“Almost every branch of ASUU is coming up with its intervention programme in terms of information, education and communication as well as donation of materials.
We have mandated every branch to start the production of hand sanitizers, and television jingles, printing and distribution of handbills and posters produced in local languages.
Even we are producing face masks to give to people in our locality and every branch is doing that,”
Many have described the current ASUU strike as insensitive as they choose to strike just when the nation is grappling with the Coronavirus outbreak.
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