By Michael Oche and Henry Tyohemba, Abuja –
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU late yesterday suspended its five weeks strike action, after reaching and signing another agreement with the federal government.
The union, therefore, directed all its members to resume classes immediately after their branch congresses later today.
Addressing journalists in Abuja after a closed door meeting which lasted for over three hours, the ASUU national president, Biodun Ogunyemi, however, warned government that failure to implement all agreements before the end of October, the lecturers would once again down tools.
He said, “After an elaborate and an exhaustive consultation process, the National Executive Council of ASUU has agreed to conditionally suspend the ongoing strike action. Taking into cognisance that the latest proposal from government to address the pending issues in the strike action has a deadline of the end of October 2017.
“All members of ASUU are to resume work after their branch congresses tomorrow 19th September, 2017.
“However, ASUU will not hesitate to review its position if government reneges on its signed memorandum of action which we all witnessed today,” he said.
Shortly after signing the agreement, the minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, noted that the grey areas had been dealt with to the satisfaction of both parties.
He assured ASUU that although the economy was in a critical position, government was committed to keeping to its end of the bargain by implementing all the issues captured in the document.
“We understand ourselves and have agreed on many issues in the spirit of give and take. Government will implement this document and as I have assured ASUU, this government is a government of change, we are not like other governments in the past.
“We agreed on funding for revitalisation of universities, earned allowances, government responsibility as regards to the university staff schools, pension, we agreed on salary shortfalls, ASUU has agreed the exemption given to them by government on funds.
It would be recalled that the university lecturers had embarked on an indefinite strike on August 13, over some contentious issues arising from breech of the 2009 agreement entered into with the Federal government concerning a full payment of salaries and improved funding of universities.
After a meeting held with the Federal Government on August 17, ASUU after due consultation and collation of views from its members, had submitted a counter offer to the federal government on August 28.
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