The Academic Staff Union of Campuses (ASUU) and the federal government are embroiled in a bitter dispute that has caused several universities to remain closed for more than seven months. The case will move to the Industrial court on Monday.
Since February 15, ASUU has been on strike in protest at what it claims is the decline of the institutions’ infrastructure and the disregard for the welfare of its members.
The Industrial Arbitration Court in Abuja had received a case from the ministry’s Trade Dispute Department, and the hearing would start the following Monday. The federal government and the ASUU leadership have engaged in a number of conversations, but they have failed to produce any results.
However, following a meeting at the National University Commission’s headquarters in Abuja on last Tuesday, negotiations between the federal government and ASUU eventually came to a halt.
The federal government had previously stated that it would not sign any further agreements that it could not carry out.
Malam Adamu Adamu, the minister of education, said this at a meeting of the provosts and vice presidents of federal universities held at the NUC’s headquarters.
Adamu said that President Muhammadu Buhari had cautioned the government’s negotiating team with the ASUU not to make a commitment that the government would not be able to keep.
The minister said the government had offered the union a 23.5 per cent salary increase “for all categories of the workforce in federal universities, except for the professorial cadre which will enjoy a 35 per cent upward review. He said the government had also promised that N150 billion “shall be provided for in the 2023 Budget as funds for the revitalisation of federal universities, to be disbursed to the Institutions in the First Quarter of the year.”
Also, the government said N50 billion would be provided “for in the 2023 Budget for the payment of outstanding arrears of earned academic allowances, to be paid in the first quarter of the year.”
However, ASUU and three other university unions have rejected the offer, describing it as “inadequate to meet their respective demands needed to tackle the challenges confronting the university system.”