The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said the lingering strike of the Academic Union of Universities (ASUU) would soon be resolved.
Ngige said this while briefing the press after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House in Abuja, adding that the dispute with the lecturers will be resolved soon.
He noted that the government has been engaging with ASUU to resolve the issues.
“As the issue is bordered on money, remunerations, welfare, we did another conciliation meeting inviting the ministry of finance, budget office of the federation, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and again, with their employers on the 1st of March,” Ngige added.
“After that, it became clear that two cardinal things were still keen — the issue of renegotiation of their welfare package as in the 2009 agreement; that agreement says you can review every five years, so that issue stuck out like a sore thumb.
“Then another issue arose in that agreement — the payment platform of university transparency, accountability solution, which they say they’ve invented. They said they don’t want to be on IPPIS, that IPPIS was amputating their salaries and taking off certain allowances, and so that it is not capturing their peculiarities.
“So, we now have to ask them to go back to these places, form committees with them. Education took them on the issue of the 2009 agreement, which is the renegotiation of their conditions of service, emolument, their remuneration allowances. Therefore, salaries, income and wages, and the ministry of finance that produce the money are involved. So, they went back.”
The Minister’s governor also dismissed talks that the Federal Government has a different payment table for trade unions in tertiary institutions. He said it might be impossible to raise the payment table because other unions, even in the health sector, might kick.
Ngige noted that although the Government is not afraid of managing the situation, it will work within the available resource.
Speaking further, Ngige said he is optimistic that the 13-year-old ASUU challenge involving a 2009 negotiation agreement and payment platform issues are being renegotiated and will be resolved before Buhari’s administration come to an end.
Ngige’s comment is the latest from the Federal Government since the strike, which has lasted for four months, began.