The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it did not reach any agreement with the federal government to suspend its industrial action on December 9.
In a statement by Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU president, on Wednesday, the union also averred that it will suspend its ongoing strike only when the federal government sufficiently guarantees the welfare of its members and public universities.
Ogunyemi was reacting to a statement by Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, that ASUU agreed at the last meeting with the government to call off its nine-month-old strike before December 9.
“The truth of the matter is that a ‘gentleman agreement’ was reached at the last meeting in which ASUU agreed to call off the strike before December 9, 2020, and the minister, in turn, agreed that once the strike is called off, he would get a presidential waiver for ASUU to be paid the remainder of their salaries on or before December 9,” Ngige had said in the statement on Tuesday.
In his reaction, Ogunyemi said ASUU didn’t reach an agreement with FG to suspend the industrial action on or before December 9.
“The leadership of ASUU has been inundated with engines on why the strike action has not been suspended sequel to the widely reported claims that the union agreed to suspend the strike on December 9,” the statement read.
“To put the records straight, the principal officers and trustees who constitute the core of representatives of ASUU at negotiation meetings with the government are not constitutionally empowered to suspend any strike action.
“Whatever comes out of an engagement with agents of the government is an offer which must be taken back to the branches through the various organs of the union.
“Views and perspectives on offers by governments are aggregated and presented to government agents as counter-offers. This strategy of offer and counter-offer is continually deployed until the National Executive Council (NLC) of ASUU consisting of all recognised chairpersons approves what it considers an acceptable offer from government.
“It is only then that any strike action by ASUU can be suspended. At our last meeting in the office of the minister of labour and employment on November 27, ASUU promised to faithfully present the latest government offer to its members through the established tradition,” Ogunyemi added.
“The latest offer by the government makes proposals on nearly all items of demand by the union with timelines.
“ASUU did not reach any understanding with government to suspend the strike on December 9. There is nothing in the offer of 27 November to suggest that conclusion as allegedly claimed by the minister of labour and employment.”
The union had embarked on an indefinite strike in March over non-implementation of agreements and resolutions the federal government reached with it in 2009.
TheCable had earlier examined how the incessant industrial actions embarked upon by the union since 1999 have forced students out of school for over four years.
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