The meeting between members of ASUU and the Federal Government have yielded positive results and the media have been filled with speculations that ASUU will call off its strike next week. What were the major agreements reached in the previous meeting that held 20th November, 2020? Let us take a review of the major issues:
1. Payment Platform
Recall that the major bone of contention between ASUU and FG has been the platform with which the university lecturers will be paid. The federal government had argued that tbe university payment system is filled with irregularities such as ghost workers, lack of transparency, teaching in multiple universities and so on. The FG intend to use the IPPIS to streamline the university lacturers salaries to avoid perceived irregularities.
However, ASUU rejected IPPIS but subscribed to its own UTAS which it developed in place of IPPIS. Now, the federal government have bowed to ASUU’s demand of using UTAS for payment of university lecturers’ salaries.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said this while addressing newsmen at the end of the closed door meeting with ASUU leadership on Friday in Abuja. Sen. Chris Ngige also said that the government would look into the earlier sanction of “No-work-no-pay” with a view to approve the payment of the withheld salaries.
2. Payment of Salary Arrears
Apart from the payment platform that has been resolved, the federal government have also agreed to pay up all salaries arears from February till June using the old payment system.
3. Revitalisation and Earned Allowances
Sen. Chris Ngige lamented that the demand by the university lecturers that the immediate payment of 50 per cent of the initial amount allotted for revitalising public universities be paid which translates to N110 billion, would not be feasible due to lack of funds.
Government had offered to pay ASUU N25 billion based on the February 7, 2019 Memorandum of Action (MOA) signed with ASUU, or in the alternative, urged ASUU to accept N30 billion with the reduction on Earned Allowances.
He added that between the revitalisation and Earned Allowances, the Federal Government had offered a cumulative sum of N65 billion. On the issue of Earned Academic Allowances and Earned Allowances (EAA/EA), he said that the Accountant General of the Federation had offered to immediately release N40 billion or, in the alternative, N35 billion. He said that this was to be shared by all the registered trade unions in the universities after providing necessary evidence of having earned the allowance. “The Federal Government reiterated that her offer of N40 billion or N35 billion, whichever is accepted by ASUU, was for all University unions.
“ASUU had proposed that N40 billion be paid immediately for all the unions. Vice Chancellors are to submit details of the Earned Academic Allowances and Earned Allowances to the NUC on or before November 30,” he said.
When Will ASUU Call Off Strike
Calling off a strike action is not always immediate upon offer from the pgovernment. The unions involved would go back to meet and deliberate on the new offer. according to ASUU chairman, “government has given us offers and we have promised to go back to our organs to brief them and then come back to government. We acknowledge that progress has been made,” he said. Ogunyemi said that ASUU would need till Friday next week to meet with its organs before reverting to government. “The next meeting has therefore been adjourned till Friday next week,” he said.