The leadership of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Allied Institutions (NASU) will meet this week to consider the latest offer made by the Federal Government regarding their ongoing strike.
The Joint Action Committee of the unions will decide whether to accept the offer or continue with the nationwide strike which commenced on February 5, 2021.
Last week, Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said the government had reached an agreement with the unions to call off their strike on Monday.
He added that five issues discussed had agreements, while only one had a proposal, which was a government proposal for the unions to go back and discuss with their organs.
Ngige said agreements were reached by both parties with timelines, which were documented as Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The Minister said the MoU was given to leaders of the two unions to go and consult with their members with a view to calling off the strike latest by Monday, February 15, 2021.
“The meeting did not end in deadlock. Rather, agreements were reached on some issues with timelines and these were documented as Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and given to leaders of the two unions to go and consult their people with a view to calling off the strike latest by Monday, February 15, 2021,” Ngige said.
The unions, under the Joint Action Committee, commenced an indefinite strike last Friday over failure of the federal government to resolve issues in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.
They are also protesting the sharing formula of the N40 billion earned academic allowances and non-payment of arrears of the new minimum wage, among others.
SSANU President, Mohammed Ibrahim, said the JAC leadership will go through the MoU and decide the next line of action.
He said: “It is true we met and it is also true government has presented a position and we have told them that we don’t have the power to suspend strike because you are aware that the strike was declared by our congress.
“We have invited our leaders in all the branches to meet with us on Wednesday and they are coming in to Abuja from different parts of the country to consider the offer.
“The people that declared the strike are the people to call off the strike and not the leaders. The leaders cannot call off strike. Our organs were the ones that declared the strike, we have a process and the process must be followed so that we will have a reasonable and respectable solution.”
He said there is no plan to suspend the 10-day old strike on February 15, as claimed by Ngige in a statement credited to the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan on Friday.
The President of SSANU said members of the unions are not miracle workers to have finished the meeting on the evening on Friday, then call off the strike on Monday.
Comrade Ibrahim said: “We had the meeting on Thursday and Friday and we got the draft on the Memorandum on Friday and how could we have met with our organs and call of the strike on Monday? Except you want us to perform some miracle. It does not work that way.
“We took what they gave us on Friday between 4pm to 5pm, how would we call our organs and get their inputs?”