Wednesday, October 5, 2022

FG drags ASUU to court over refusal to call off strike

The federal government has dragged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to the Industrial Court over its ongoing strike action which has kept students at home for nearly seven months.

ASUU had embarked on strike since February 14 to protest alleged decay of infrastructure at the various institutions, as well as neglect of the welfare of its members.

Sources at the federal ministry of labour told ThisDay on Friday that the ministry’s Trade Dispute Department had filed a case before the Industrial Arbitration Court in Abuja and that the hearing would commence next Monday.

According to the source, “The federal government has filed a case at the Industrial Court challenging the continued strike by the university teachers. This is in conformity with Section 17 of the Trade Dispute Act.”

There have been series of negotiations between the federal government and the ASUU leadership but all ended in stalemate without a tangible outcome.

However, talks between the federal government and ASUU finally hit the rocks last Tuesday after both sides met at the National University Commission’s office in Abuja.

The federal government had said that it would not sign any other agreement it cannot implement.

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, disclosed this during a meeting of Pro-Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities, held at the NUC’s office, ThisDay reported.

Adamu said President Muhammadu Buhari had warned the government’s team involved in the negotiation with ASUU against signing an agreement that the government would not be able to fulfil.

The minister said the government had offered the union a 23.5 per cent salary increase “for all categories of the workforce in federal universities, except for the professorial cadre which will enjoy a 35 per cent upward review. He said the government had also promised that N150 billion “shall be provided for in the 2023 Budget as funds for the revitalisation of federal universities, to be disbursed to the Institutions in the First Quarter of the year.”

Also, the government said N50 billion would be provided “for in the 2023 Budget for the payment of outstanding arrears of earned academic allowances, to be paid in the first quarter of the year.”

However, ASUU and three other university unions have rejected the offer, describing it as “inadequate to meet their respective demands needed to tackle the challenges confronting the university system.”

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