University lecturers in Nigeria have given six new conditions that must be met by the federal government before they can call off their two-week old strike.
Some of the options include:
- Bringing ASUU back to the negotiation table.
- Allowing the Panel of Wale Babalakin to finish its assignment.
- Suing ASUU to either the National Industrial Court (NIC) or the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP).
- Transferring all issues to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, by the Trade Dispute law. According to a source, the six conditions were not part of the prior demands referred to the Babalakin Committee for negotiation.
The new terms are as follows:
- The Federal Government should accept payment of shortfall in salaries of universities immediately
- Universities should manage their IGR anyhow they like and release from TSA
- Release of Endowment Funds, JV cash from TSA
- Payment of University Salary Scale to primary school teachers in universities
- Waiver/government fiat to establish Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company
- Release/implementation of guidelines for the retirement of Professors in line with 2009 FG-ASUU Agreement.
The source said:
ASUU has brought proposals different from the agreement they reached in the Senate with the Federal Ministry of Education.
They are asking the government to take charge of the shortfall in the salaries of universities when there were obvious cases of abuse of recruitment process and noncompliance with Integrated Personnel Payment Information System (IPPIS).
They want the government to accept legal responsibility for the loss in spite of the fact that universities acted randomly in increasing their wage bill.
The lecturers have also asked the government to manage their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from now instead of sending such to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in line with their demand for independence for universities.
But, according to the source, the government doesn’t want to surrender the TSA policy for universities. It, however, showed readiness to exempt Joint Ventures Funds and Endowment Funds from TSA.
In their new requests, the lecturers demanded the issuance of a fiat to the Pension Commission to register the Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company.
Read also: ASUU refuses to show up for meeting with FG
The source said:
PENCOM has expressed its readiness to register Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company if ASUU and other stakeholders can quickly address the lapses already highlighted in the registration process. PENCOM is insisting that the guidelines in the 2005 Pension Reforms Act must be fully complied with.
The government was shocked by ASUU’s new request which stated that the Federal Government should pay University Salary Scale to primary school teachers that are in university staff schools.
They are saying that the staff school should be allowed to continue to collect tuition fees.
The senior government official said:
The government has a different approach to the staff school. Apart from keeping its policy that primary education is free under the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Scheme, the government is of the opinion that teachers in varsity schools should either be paid by the Universal Basic Education Commission(UBEC) or should be placed on the salary scale of Federal Salary Scale or the Federal Ministry of Education.
Another demand from ASUU is the release of the guidelines for the retirement of professors in line with 2009 Agreement.
In response to a question, the source said:
We believe that ASUU wants to be difficult with its new conditions after Mallam Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education, had released N23billion to pay earned allowances of the lecturers.
The ASUU strike will be brought before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday (today). The FEC will consider options and chart the way forward.
Last night when contacted, Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, said:
They have brought some proposals different from the demands we are already addressing. I want ASUU to toe the path of peace for the sake of the innocent students in our universities.
I am asking ASUU to know that this dispute is already apprehended by this ministry. And when we perceive a difference, it is necessary for the parties involved to come for talks and consideration of issues.
Going by Section 3 of the Labour Dispute law, any further discussion on ASUU demands should be done with the Federal Ministry of Labour.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, pleaded with the lecturers yesterday to accept peace for the sake of innocent students.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) will discuss today the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and draw out the way forward.