The Minister of Labour and Employment,
Dr Chris Ngige, has expressed optimism
that the prolonged strike action embarked
upon by the Academic Staff Union of
Universities will be resolved by next week
when the Federal Government team meets the union leaders again.
He, however, said if the matter was not
resolved by then, he would explore the
provisions in the labour law and other
Government has previously appealed to
the union to call off the strike.
The union had on March 24, 2020 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 the lingering disagreement over the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System that ASUU rejected.
Speaking on Politics Today on Channels
Television on Friday, the minister 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.
He started, “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 if it meant that the lecturers
may not return to the classrooms in the
next one or two weeks, he 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 said his children had
also been at home as a result of the strike, explained that government has agreed to give the University Transparency Academic Solution, the payment platform proposed by ASUU, trial. He however said the feedback he got from the National Information Technology Development Agency, the agency mandated to follow-up 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.