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ASUU strike: FG faults NLC’s demand, appeals to lecturers

 

The Federal Government has again appealed to members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities to immediately call off their prolonged industrial action and return to classes.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, made the appeal on Thursday while interacting with journalists after receiving letter of nomination by Sun Newspaper Publishing Limited for the award of ‘Public Service Icon 2021’.

A statement by the acting labour ministry spokesperson, Patience Onuobia, quoted Ngige as saying that the government is unrelenting in its efforts towards addressing the industrial disputes in the university system involving ASUU and the other unions.

According to the minister, everything contained in the December 2020 agreement was religiously executed to the extent that the government aggregately paid N92b from the 2021 budget to cover the revitalisation funds and Earned Allowances for non teaching staff.

The minister faulted the demand by the Nigeria Labour Congress for a high-powered panel with requisite mandate to resolve all the disputes within 21 days, saying the President had already put in place a high-powered team, comprising his Chief of Staff, the ministers of labour, education, finance, communication and digital economy.

Regarding the renegotiation of conditions of service of the university lecturers, Ngige maintained that the renegotiation must be guided by the International Labour Organisation principle of ability to pay.

He recalled that the former renegotiation committee headed by Prof Jubril Munzali made a proposal of 200 per cent rise in emoluments of university workers, but the FG said it cannot pay.

He said the university system and the teaching hospitals consume two-thirds of all the emoluments currently paid from the national budget of the country, arguing that an increase for the lecturers would occasion an upward review of the salaries of allied professionals in the health sector, based on their different salary structures.

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