*Optimism about an early call off
*Crisis averted as NANS factions clash at ASUU strike protest
The federal government’s negotiating team led by the Ministers of Labour and Education are expected to resume negotiations with the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) today, in a bid to finding an early call off the 3 week old industrial action embarked by the union over a 6 point demands.
Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, had hinted about today’s meeting which was at the instance of the union, that it should be postponed till after the Eid-el-Kabir holidays.
In a statement issued by Samuel Olowookere, Deputy Director (Press) in the ministry also dispelled speculations of uncertainty over talks between the federal government and the union.
“Engagement of the striking ASUU members is still being handled by ministers of Labour and Employment and the ministers of Education.
“Issues of strike by an employee are a labour matter. The Minister of Labour and Employment is, therefore, synergising with the Ministry of Education to resolve the dispute.
“This is normal procedure in government where ministers brief and report to the president or vice-president to streamline efforts and gains in a given assignment,” he said.
Both parties were to meet last Tuesday but the union boycotted the meeting called by Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
The union had boycotted the meeting saying their attendance was not necessary as they were handed some offers from government, expected to consult their members and revert back to government.
It said “On Thursday, we met with officials of the Ministry of Education and Labour and Employment where it was agreed that the union should consult and revert to government. “Following due consultations, we have collated the views of our members on the offers from government in dispute in the letter of August 16, 2017.
These views were submitted to the federal government vide our letter dated August 28, 2017. “As we await the federal government’s action on our letter, we hope that it would not be long before we receive a positive response which will bring an end to the dispute.
Reacting on their readiness to attend today’s meeting,, ASUU president, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyeni, said: “We are waiting for them to call a meeting now and when they call a meeting, we will go. If they call a meeting, we will attend in as much as it doesn’t fall within the holidays.”
The university lecturers have been on strike for over two weeks due to the government’s failure to honour past agreements with them and other welfare demands.
Meanwhile there was confusion on Tuesday at the Unity Fountain in Abuja as two factions of National Association of Nigeria Students, NANS, clashed while protesting the ongoing ASUU strike.
Some of the 6 point demands tabled by ASUU include the funding of physical infrastructures in Public varsities, Earned allowances, Registration of NUPEMCO, stoppage of half salaries, etc.