THE Federal Government yesterday faulted claims by the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU), Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi that the government had failed to deliver on the timelines on offers made to the union.
ASUU was quoted to have said that University teachers cannot return to classes on “ empty stomach.”
But the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who dismissed the claims by ASUU, said that while it was true that some of the offers made to ASUU have timelines, the same timelines have faithfully been complied with.
The Minister noted that it is false and discomforting for ASUU to wrongly inform the general public that the Federal Government agreed to pay all withheld salaries before it will resume work.
The truth of the matter is that a ‘Gentleman Agreement’ was reached at the last meeting in which ASUU agreed to call off the strike before December 9, 2020, and the Minister, in turn, agreed that once the strike is called off, he would get a presidential waiver for ASUU to be paid the remainder of their salaries on or before December 9, 2020.
Hence, it is baseless for ASUU to claim it cannot go back to school on an empty stomach while the government has on compassionate grounds, paid five months salaries out of the nine months they have been on strike.
Asking the government to pay these four months before it goes back to work, means ASUU is placing itself above the law of the land and no government will encourage, it as it is a recipe for chaos in the labour milieu.
“ Finally, the Federal Government will continue to engage ASUU in the spirit of social dialogue which the Ministry of Labour and Employment has been encouraging based on the ILO Principle on decent work.”