Nigeria: Government not against new social protection scheme for ASUU, SSANU and others

Abuja – The Federal Government said yesterday that it supports the renegotiation of the Welfare Scheme for University Workers in line with current realities.

The government spoke out on a day when the Nigeria Labor Congress, NLC, decided to engage in the confrontation between the four university unions and the federal government over non-payment of minimum wage arrears, failure to gain in the payment of wages, the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement and revitalization funds, among others.

Speaking at a meeting with members of the 2009 FG and university union renegotiation committee, Labor and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige said the government was not happy with the approach used by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to pursue its claims.

Recall that the ASUU began a month-long warning strike on February 14 and extended it to another two months when the warning strike expired, due to the government’s alleged inability to respond. to their requests.

But Senator Ngige, during the meeting with the federal government’s renegotiation committee in his office, pleaded with the committee to conclude its mission within six weeks, as stipulated in the protocol of action, MoA, with trade unions.

He asked the renegotiation team to ensure that they meet the six-week deadline for the conclusion of their mission.

He said the federal government was aware of the level of depreciation the winning teachers had been subjected to due to the rising rate of inflation, adding that he had advised ASUU management to find a better way to lobbying the Federal Ministry of Education and National Universities Commission, NUC, to speed up the implementation of agreements reached with the government, rather than rushing on strike whenever there was a disagreement.

Ngige said, “I’m not Minister of Education, I can’t go to the Minister of Education and tell him how to run his place. But I told ASUU that you should bomb them at the Federal Ministry of Education to move this forward.

“There are many ways to do it. If you go to labor law, there is something called picketing. You can picket. Strike is an ultimate thing. Picketing means you can stand in the hallway, clap or sing. Workers are allowed to do this.

“But I’m tired that every time there’s a disagreement, it’s a strike. And the bosses of the Federal Ministry of Education don’t feel the strike. It’s the children and some of us, the parents, who have our children in public schools.”

Speaking on the state of conditions of service of professors and other university workers, the Minister said he had commissioned studies on productivity versus emoluments, adding that the result was that payments made ten years ago when the dollar was strong, have now lost value with a 100% depreciation.

“Why won’t I support if ASUU and their unions now want a renegotiation of their terms of service, which is the crux of the previous committee’s proposal,” he said.

The chairman of the 2009 FG and University union renegotiation committee, Professor Nimi Briggs, said his committee was consulting with all stakeholders, with a view to finding an amicable solution to the ASUU dispute.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the Nigeria Labor Congress, NLC, has planned to meet with the four university unions over the ongoing university strike.

The NLC expressed concern over the closure of public universities across the country following the strike launched by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied Educational Institutions, NAAT, and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT.

The four NLC-affiliated unions have closed universities due to unresolved issues, including difficulties they face with the integrated payroll and personnel information system, IPPIS, non-payment of minimum wage arrears, the revitalization funds and the non-revision of the 2009 law. Agreement with the government.