By Marcus Ikechukwu
Prospects of ending the warning strike called by the Non Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions NASU, was botched as stakeholders in the renegotiation process could not come to a compromise.
Recall that the Federal Government had called a meeting of the Renegotiation Committee to iron out grey areas relating to their agreements made since 2009 in the Universities and Inter-University Centres.
The meeting was scheduled to hold on Friday, 22nd April, 2022 at the premises of the National Universities Commission NUC.
According to NASU officials, its renegotiation team got to the venue of the meeting at the NUC, Abuja full of high hopes that the meeting will bring peace to the University system.
In a statement circulated by NASU’s General Secretary, Peters Adeyemi, to the media, the situation they met on ground at the venue of the meeting was not encouraging.
NASU alleged that the Government Team of the Renegotiation Committee led by Prof. Nimi Briggs, the Pro-Chancellor of Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Ebonyi State appeared not to be ready for any renegotiation.
He said it became very obvious from the moment the meeting commenced and the team spotted the first item on the report of the Sub-committee of the Renegotiating Committee.
Recall that the Joint Action Committee JAC of the Non Academic Staff Union of Universities and Allied Institutions as well as the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian SSANU had met last week in Abuja, where they reviewed the warning strike and extended it for another two weeks.
JAC had accused the Federal Government of ignoring its grievances, a situation that may make the strike go indefinite in few weeks time.
To put the records straight, Adeyemi noted that the meeting of the FGN/NASU Renegotiation Committee chaired by Dr. Wale Babalakin, the then Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, which held on Friday, 10th August, 2018 had constituted a Sub-committee comprising members of Government Team and NASU in the Renegotiation Committee to examine the Memorandum of Demand (MOD) of NASU and identify issues that were contentious, non-contentious and those that required further clarification in order to facilitate the renegotiation of the issues involved.
He however said on resumption of the renegotiation today, Friday, 22nd April, 2022, the Government side did everything possible to set aside the report of the Sub-committee, which was chaired by Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, with the current Chairman, Prof. Nimi Briggs as member.
NASU alleged that the Government side was only ready to enter disagreements on all items on the Union’s MOD as if that was a pre-determined position before the meeting.
“It is obvious that the Government side of the Renegotiation Committee lacks capacity to commit their Principals (the Federal Government) on any issue of the negotiation. This we found to be strange and not in line with the principles of collective bargaining.
“It is shocking and surprising to the Union that at this time when all hands should be on deck to resolve the lingering crisis in the University system in order to enable our children return to the classroom, the Government side of the Renegotiation Committee will show non-commitment and nonchalant attitude to the renegotiation, which is aimed at resolving the crisis. We came to the conclusion that the meeting called was just a window dressing and aimed at playing to the gallery.
“NASU members of the Negotiation Committee therefore had no option than to inform the Government side that they have to go back to their Principals, which are NASU members in the Universities and Inter-University Centres to inform them of the development and get their directives on further steps to take,” the statement added.