“Go back to work or we will stop paying your salary,” FG tells ASUU

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The labour dispute between the Federal Government (FG) and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which has resulted in the six-week old strike by the university lecturers took a worse turn on friday with the Federal Government threatening to invoke its no-work-no-pay policy to force the striking lecturers back to work.
This was made known by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, at a meeting with the chairmen of university governing councils and vice-chancellors on Friday who ordered the striking university lecturers to return to their duty posts while the pending issues were being resolved.
He also directed all the governing councils of the various universities to open the gates of the institutions to students as from next week.
The directives followed the inability of both parties (FG and ASUU) to reach a definite agreement on the issue of earned allowances to university workers after about two months of dialogue and negotiations and
the threat by the union to discontinue talks with government.
The Federal Government also disbursed the N30 billion it provided to support the councils for the payment of academic earned allowances to
lecturers, at the meeting.
Anyim said this was in addition to the N100 billion provided by the government to address the challenges of infrastructural deficit in the system.
He said: “Mr. President is fully committed to bringing the students back to school and appreciates
the patience of parents and students as government is making every effort to revitalise the university
system.
“By this demonstration of clear commitment to revitalise the university system, government
hereby urges every (member of) staff of the nation’s universities to return to work as all issues are being
resolved. With particular reference to the contentious issue of earned allowances, every (member of) staff of
the universities that is so entitled should verify his claim with his university council and accordingly get
paid,” he said.
SGF said the Earned Allowances was the major issue in dispute, adding that traditionally, universities pay deserving staff but “because of the amount that ASUU now claims as arrears, government decided to
assist the university councils to pay.”
He said the Federal Government did not receive any computation of amount involved until February, 2013 and that ASUU demanded for an outrageous
sum of N92 billion arrears for three years’ payment based on percentage ranges between 15 and 20 of
personnel cost.
The Minister of Education, Professor
RugayyatuAhmed Rufa’i, also said that ASUU actually went on strike over the initial offer of five per cent of personnel cost of the entire university staff.
She said that government had addressed all other issues raised by the union for them to call off the
strike.
She maintained that government had no money to pay the N92 billion academic Earned Allowances
requested by ASUU, insisting that it was not feasible in view of the current state of the nation’s economy.
Anyim further said: “After series of discussions involving the National Assembly; the SGF; the Chairman of the Needs Assessment Report
Implementation Committee, Governor Gabriel Suswam; the ministers of Education, Labour; and the
Coordinating Minister for the Economy and other stakeholders, government has now provided N30 billion to support the university councils in settling the Earned Allowances.”
He said all other issues of Consolidated Salary Structure for Academics in Nigerian Universities (CONUASS II), amendment of Pensionable Retirement Age of Academics in the Professorial
Cadre to 70 years have been fully implemented.
Anyim said most of the issues contained in the 2009 agreement, which necessitated the current strike,
have been fully met, except for the Earned Allowances, which ASUU pegged at N92 billion.

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