Strike: FG making smooth negotiation difficult —ASUU
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has accused the Federal Government of frustrating efforts to resolve issues that led to the ongoing strike action embarked upon by the lecturers.
The National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, said on Politics Today, a programme aired on Channels Television and monitored by our correspondent.
He explained that the Federal Government has refused to take the necessary steps in addressing the strike action.
According to him, the delay in adopting ASUU’s preferred platform, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, is one of the major reasons why the strike has not been suspended.
He said, “The strike is still on as a result of the FG not taking the necessary steps. We gave them two weeks to address our five points demands.
“We engaged the government but they were not forthcoming. They had a whole year to address those issues. They gave us positions that were not acceptable to our members.
“During our first meeting, we thought they we are almost resolving the issues.
“What compounded the problem is the issue of IPPIS. We have said that it is a distraction. There is no university in the world that IPPIS is being used.
“We have done three presentations of UTAS to the Minister of Education and his team, the leadership of Senate and Office of the Accountant-General. They only agreed that UTAS is accepted in principles.
“We are almost getting UTAS approved but govt is saying that our members should first migrate to IPPIS before returning to UTAS. That makes no economic sense. The government has made it difficult for smooth negotiation. They said our members will be paid when they move to IPPIS.”
He also complained about the alleged irregularities in the payment of salaries and allowances of lecturers.
Ogunyemi said, “The issue of what we call amputated salary came into it because the IPPIS platform was not designed for the university system.
“So, the platform does not recognise negotiated agreements like we are talking about allowance – unacademic allowances, research journal, and other things,” the don said on Thursday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“In fact, there were professors that were paid like N8,000 in some months on our campuses. So, we don’t expect anything otherwise because that platform was not meant for the university system.”
A few hours before the interview, the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, said FG was committed to ending the strike.
“We will keep pushing for a consensus on this issue so as to bring the much needed succor to students at home,” he tweeted.
For the second time in one week, the meeting between the FG and ASUU deadlocked on Wednesday as they failed to agree on the payment platform to be used in disbursing the salary arrears and the N30bn Earned Allowance of the university lecturers.
The FG team led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had offered to pay the salary arrears and the N30bn Earned Allowances of the university lecturers through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System platform pending the roll-out of ASUU’s preferred platform, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution.
But the ASUU delegation led by Ogunyemi insisted that the payment should be made through the UTAS.
Sequel to their failure to reach a consensus, the parties agreed to consult their respective principals and stakeholders and adjourned till next week Wednesday.