NewsOne Nigeria reports that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has denied a news report that it agreed to call off the ongoing strike after meeting with the Federal Government negotiation team led by Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, on Friday.
The report had noted that at the meeting at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Federal Government reportedly increased its offer for Earned Allowances EA to university based unions and funding for the revitalization of public universities from N65 billion to N70 billion.
According to the report, ASUU gave an indication at the meeting that the strike which started since March would soon be called off after a meeting with the leadership of union and its organs.
The report had said that the university lecturers agreed to call off the strike after the government pledged to pay N40 billion for Earned Allowances and N30 billion for the revitalization of the university system bringing the total payment to N70 billion.
According to the report, it was further revealed that the Government agreed to settle the arrears of salaries of the lecturers before December 31.
The report also noted that ASUU was expected to report the agreement to its organs and then communicate their decision to the government after which a date for the calling off of the strike would be announced.
Quoting a source within the university union, the leadership of ASUU was said to have insisted that the agreement to call off the strike should not be announced until it has been approved by its members.
However, in a latest development, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, has denied knowledge of any agreement to call off the strike, stressing that at the meeting, it was only agreed that union should convey Government message to their organs and get back to Government.
” I am not aware of that. All I know is that we had a meeting and we are going to report to our members. But I don’t know about suspension of strike,” ASUU President said.
Meanwhile, a source in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, said that after the meeting, the Minister of Labour, Senator Ngige, who described the meeting as “fruitful,” added that the government made a proposal to ASUU which it would take back to its members.
The Minister of Labour told reporters after the meeting that, “Many issues were discussed at the meeting including salary shortfall, the payment system and revitalization of the university system. I am positive that all the issues would be resolved at our next meeting.”
NewsOne Nigeria reports that Friday’s meeting was about the seventh time ASUU and FG have met to resolve the issues in contention since the university union embarked on strike on March 23.