Sunday, May 9, 2021

No strike in future as ASUU, FG agree on periodic review of MoU implementation

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tiamin rice

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Federal Government have ironed out their differences, including an agreement on a period review of the implementation of the Memorandum of Action, MoA.

The President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, made the disclosure while addressing newsmen at the end of a meeting between the leadership of the union and the federal government on Friday in Abuja.

Mr Ogunyemi said that the meeting was fruitful and that progress had been made.

The union, he said, was satisfied with the periodic review of the agreement so as to prevent tension and resort to further industrial action.

“Put together, we want to agree that we had fruitful discussions and we have strong hopes that there will be fruitful and harmonious relationship in achieving the provisions of the MoA of 2020.

“We want to agree that it is a departure from the past because, now, we have agreed on intermittent or periodic review of the MoA so that areas that will create tension will be apprehended before matters degenerate,” Mr Ogunyemi said.

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Also speaking, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, who led the government team, said that both parties discussed every item on the MOA and had reached agreements.

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“On the issue of the N30 billion revitalisation fund, we have looked at the payment and how to streamline the outstanding payment into the national budget or into a special system fund.

“Also, with regards to the Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), the federal government has paid N40 billion to all the unions while the National Universities Commission (NUC) provided a formula, which was used for sharing it to all the university workers.

“We had pockets of protest and we managed it. Today, we also agreed to find a way to accommodate the balance in order to pay all as and when due.

“We also looked at salaries that were not captured by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF), resulting in some lecturers not having their full amount of payment since December or January 2020.

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“We felt that such a thing should not arise, and also, notes were exchanged by the office of Accountant-General and ASUU leadership. So, we want them to go back and cross check,” he said.

Mr Ngige noted that the issue of check off dues was discussed and also both OAGF and ASUU were asked to go back and look at their records and reconcile.

He added that the AOGF’s office said they had finished payment and tendered documents in that respect.

He said the issue of state universities and the NUC bill were equally addressed and they agreed that both parties should look at the draft bill and the final bill knocked out for transmission to the National Assembly.

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“We also looked at the issue of UTAS and also made certain recommendations which will be communicated to the minister of communication and digital economy, who heads the supervising ministry.

“This is to enable them fast forward the various tests that are needed on the UTAS system like stress test, integrity test and the rest of them.

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“So, it has been a very fruitful meeting and we have reached agreements on the issues and we can say that we made a very big progress in the relationship between the government and ASUU.

“In the light of that, we have agreed to reconvene before the end of May, to know where we have reached on the various assignments we gave given to ourselves,” Mr Ngige added.

Recall that ASUU called off its nine-month-old indefinite strike on Dec. 23, 2020, after reaching a six-point MoA with the government.

NAN reports that ASUU’s grievances include funding for revitalisation of public universities, payment of earned academic allowances, salary shortfall, state universities, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) among others.

Also, the union’s National Executive Council had called for diligent monitoring of the implementation of the FGN-ASUU agreement of 2009 and the MoA by both parties.

NAN

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