Adamu Adamu, Nigeria’s Minister of Education, says the Government cannot bend its rule of ‘no work, no play, which is why members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have continued with their indefinite strike.
“To be frank with all the unions, especially with ASUU, one major issue over which Government and the Unions could not reach amicable agreement was the issue of the law on “No work, No pay,” the Minister said in Abuja on Tuesday.
He spoke at the ongoing meeting with Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities at the National Universities Commission (NUC) headquarters.
“In the spirit of sincerity, the Government made it clear that it would not break the law. And on this, I must, openly and once again, thank all the Unions which made the sacrifice of understanding the position of Government on the matter.”
Adamu said the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari guided the negotiations with the leadership of ASUU by the government’s representatives to persuade the union to back to work.
“In all we have been doing, our guide has been the directive of Mr President Muhammadu Buhari, namely, that while the unions should be persuaded to return to work, Government should not repeat the past mistakes of accepting to sign an agreement it will be unable to implement. Government should not, in the guise of resolving current challenges, sow seeds for future disruptions,” he explained.
“We have done the best that we can in the circumstance. After Inter-ministerial consultations and rounds of hard negotiations with all government agencies, we interacted with the Unions. I personally, gave it all it required to resolve the current challenges. I met the Unions anywhere and everywhere possible with facts, figures, and absolute sincerity. For example, I directly met with ASUU leadership in my house, in my office and at the ASUU Secretariat on several different occasions, in addition to other formal engagements going on.
On February 14, ASUU declared a one-month warning strike that escalated into a full-blown strike.
The strike, which has kept public universities shut and academic activities grounded with students and Nigerians bewildered, is in its sixth month, with no end.
The strike by the union entered its 204th day.
Some of the union’s demands included: funding for the revitalisation of public universities; payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA)/Earned Allowances (EA); payment of salary shortfalls; stopping the proliferation of state universities by governors; setting up of Visitation Panels.
Others are: renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement; adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a payment platform for university lecturers; and payment of withheld salaries and non-remittance of check-off dues.