The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday rejected the Federal Government’s new offer of enhanced academic allowances, insisting that government should first implement in full the 2009 agreement before any other negotiation could take place.
National President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge, who disclosed this to Vanguard, said after consultations with branch chairmen of the union on the new government offer, members rejected it, saying accepting the offer meant starting negotiations afresh.
Dr. Fagge said: “They wanted to make an offer on one of the issues in dispute. They said they are more interested in the earned academic allowances, so they said they want to make an offer just like they did in the first instance.
We told them that the issue is not making offers on any item in the agreement. The issue is implementing the agreement. We have consulted our principal (branch chairmen) and our principal is of the opinion that the agreement should just be implemented. If we say we are going to start talking about offers and rejections and acceptance, it means that we are going back to re-negotiation. That is the situation and of course, they asked whether we will still attend tomorrow’s meeting where they will discuss implementation of the needs assessment report, we told them that we will be there.”
The ASUU boss, who said it seemed the Federal Government wanted to reduce the whole agreement to earned academic allowances, stated “for us, the agreement has many other things that are very vital for revitalizing university system in this country.”
He said the branch chairmen who were contacted on the development rejected any move that would end up in government abandoning an agreement that was willingly signed and that the union did not want a development where a component of the agreement would be singled out by government.
“They said (branch leaders) that are not interested in re-negotiating the agreement for now, when you implement the agreement then we will talk about re-negotiation,” he said. So I guess, the rumours of the ASUU strike being called off by Thursday, August 1st was greatly exaggerated.