Ngige Calls ASUU to Halt Industrial Action

The Federal Government has said it would spend about N34 billion to pay the ongoing consequential adjustments of the minimum wage to education sector workers with effect from 2019.

This was stated by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, on Wednesday while responding to questions from Labour correspondents in Abuja on the prolonged ASUU strike.

According to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the beneficiaries include the members of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and their counterparts in the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.

Meanwhile, Ngige has said the universities would get N23.5b, the polytechnics N6b and the Colleges of Education N4b, which sums about N34b.

Concerning the ASUU strike, the Minister stated that the committees formed during the previous tripartite-plus meeting of the government and university-based unions were given a fortnight to submit their reports and were still working.

He added that the reports of the committees were being expected this weekend.

He said, “Those committees are working. The one on NITDA is testing the three platforms, the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) of ASUU, and the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) of the non-teaching staff.

“They started the testing last Thursday. The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) has issued its amendment circulars. The unions also have copies to take care of responsibility and hazard allowances wherever it has not been properly captured.

The minister assured Nigerians that wage adjustments were likely as the government stepped up to streamline wages through the National Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission.

“We have done that of the Police, for example. It wasn’t envisaged that we should do it in bits. But you can see that it has been done. You can also see university teachers saying that their own should be done immediately since we have done police. So, something is being done. It was part of the 2009 negotiation they had with the government then. So, the committee of Prof. Briggs is on it, discussing it with the university unions and their employer, the Federal Ministry of Education. They will bring up something for government to see.

“There are other people. The doctors are complaining about brain drain, this and that. Their hazard allowance has to be touched, and it was touched by close to 300 per cent. From N5,000 paid across the board for each person, the least person in the health sector is getting N15,000 while the big ones are getting N45,000. That is a quantum leap.”

Ngige again urged ASUU and other university-based unions to halt their strike and resume academic activities in public universities.

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