By Peter Usman
After the meeting with the government on Friday, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has commenced consultations with its members to discuss whether to call – off or continue with its strike action.
ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi confirmed this in an interview with journalists on Saturday.
A member of ASUU said all the branches, which are over 70, will participate in the decision to either call – off the strike or not.
Ogunyemi said: “We are consulting with our organs. When we have new information we will share it.
“We are reporting back to the government on Friday. That is when the consultation will end.”
Asked if the union would call off the strike before Friday’s meeting, Ogunyemi said: “I don’t have the power to suspend the strike.”
The Federal Government on Friday agreed to ASUU’s demand to pay their members’ salary arrears from February to June through the old salary payment platform, pending when the university lecturers will complete the development of its own payment platform- the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
After weeks of negotiations and foot-dragging, the government offered to raise the Earned Academic Allowances to university staff from N30bn to N35bn and the revitalisation fund from N20bn to N25bn, including the additional N10 billion it promised to release next year on February, totaling N65 billion.
Cumulatively, the government, through the Accountant – General of the Federation, offered the lectures N65 billion to call off their eight-month-old strike.
The government also shifted grounds on a number of issues, including the insistence that all the academic staff of the federal universities must be paid through the IPPIS platform.
“The government, however, offered to pay N25 billion based on the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 7th February 2019 signed with ASUU or in the alternative, urged ASUU to accept N30 billion with the reduction in the earlier Earned Allowances. Between the revitalisation and earned allowances, the FG has offered a cumulative sum of N65 billion.
“The Accountant-General of the Federation offered to immediately release N40 billion or in the alternative N35 billion to be shared by all the registered Trade Unions in the universities after providing the necessary evidence of having earned the allowance.
“The FG reiterated that her offer of N40 billion or 35 billion whichever is accepted by ASUU was for all the universities unions: ASUU had proposed that N40 billion be paid immediately for all unions,” the government said in a communique issued at the end of Friday’s meeting.
The breakthrough in negotiations is expected to end the eight-month strike embarked on by the university lecturers.
Ogunyemi said that ASUU will need till Friday next week to meet with its organs before reverting to the government.
ASUU has been on strike since March this year to press home their demands.