Strike: We’ll Explore Other Options If ASUU Remains Adamant, Says FG
Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment has said that the Federal Government would explore ‘other provisions in the labour law’ if the disagreement between the FG and striking lecturers is not resolved by next week.
The union on March 23 embarked on an indefinite strike over the failure of the Federal Government to keep to the 2019 Memorandum of Action between them as well as disagreement over the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) that ASUU rejected.
Read Also: Just In: ASUU Begins Indefinite Strike
Speaking on Politics Today on Channels Television on Friday, Ngige said the government had met six of the union’s nine demands and that they would meet again next week with the hope of ending the prolonged strike.
The Minister stated;
Even if countries go to war, at the end of the day they come to the negotiation table. I’m inviting them (ASUU) next week. We are doing side meetings on our part and we are collating everything. I’m collating responses from the Accountant General of the Federation’s Office and everybody who has something to do with this matter.
When asked about the possibility of lecturers returning to the classrooms in the next one or two weeks, Ngige said;
I’m not looking at that (long) period. I’m an optimist on this matter. By next week, we will conclude this matter. There are so many options left. We have the labour laws and I have options left to me in the labour laws. I have other channels.
The minister, who noted that his children have also been at home as a result of the strike, explained that government agreed to give the University Transparency Academic Solution (UTAS), the payment platform proposed by ASUU, a trial.
He however said the feedback he got from the National Information Technology Development Agency, the agency mandated to follow-up the trial with ASUU, showed they had just concluded the first phase and that the second phase to assess the functional requirement of UTAS had not been done.
UTAS has yet to be ready but government will not discourage them. And we have told them there is no need using the same old method of strike to make demands since such had been deployed since 2017.
On the revitalisation fund, the Labour minister expressed that FG had agreed to release N30bn out of the N40bn demanded by the union as the payment for November 2019 and September 2020, adding that the remaining N10bn would be staggered.