BY HENRY TYOHEMBA |
The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has stressed that the union did not reach any understanding with government to suspend the strike on 9th December, 2020.
ASUU president, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi said yesterday, that there is nothing in the government offer of 27th November, 2020 to suggest that conclusion as claimed by the Minister of Labour and Employment had been reached.
LEADERSHIP reports that despite expectations that the strike will be called off yesterday, the federal government decided to postpone the negotiation meeting earlier scheduled with the union.
According to him, “To put the records straight, the Principal Officers and Trustees who constitute the core of representatives of ASUU at negotiation meetings with government are not constitutionally empowered to suspend any strike action. Whatever comes out of an engagement with agents of the government is an offer which must be taken back to the branches through the various organs of the union.
“Views and perspectives on offers by governments are aggregated and presented to government agents as counter-offers. This trade union strategy of offer and counter-offer is continually deployed until the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU – consisting of all recognised chairpersons – finally approves what it considers an acceptable offer from the government. It is only then that any strike action by ASUU can be suspended.
“At our last meeting in the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment on 27th November, 2020, the ASUU leadership promised to present the latest government offer to its members through the established tradition.
“The latest offer by government makes proposals on nearly all items of demand by the union with timelines. Among others, the document which was signed by the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, contains proposals on inauguration of the reconstituted FGN-ASUU Renegotiation Committee (1st December, 2020); release of details about Visitation Panels (1st December, 2020); working on the actualisation of the release of the withheld salaries of ASUU members (Wednesday, 9th December, 2020). Clause 9 on the document reads:
“Based on these conclusions reached on items 1-8, ASUU’s leadership will consult its organs with a view to suspending the on-going strike,” he said.
Ogunyemi explained that ASUU has consistently stated at every meeting with high ranking government officials that the union’s representatives have no mandate to take final decision on any strike action by the union.