The Federal Government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities for the second time in a row have canceled a truce meeting.
The meeting was initially scheduled to discuss the union’s current strike action, and possibly reach a final agreement with the government.
It was gathered that ASUU was still consulting with its organs on the latest offer by the Federal Government to the striking university teachers.
The Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Charles Akpan, announced the postponement in a text message.
“Good morning, colleagues. Please, note that the meeting with ASUU, earlier scheduled for today (yesterday), is canceled. The inauguration of the technical committee on PMS is as scheduled,” the message read.
However, ASUU President Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, while reacting to the latest development, said the union’s leadership did not agree on any meeting with the government as consultations on both sides were still ongoing.
“We never actually agreed on any meeting. What we said was due consultations, and consultations are going on at the two levels. We believe the government’s side is also consulting. That’s why the meeting has not held.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, In a statement last Tuesday in Abuja, confirmed that the government had raised its offer to the striking lecturers to N70 billion.
He said the government was willing to pay N40 billion for Earned Allowances, which would be shared among three university-based unions, and N30 billion for revitalization.
The minister further added that the funds were ready to be disbursed, pending when the union would agree to call off the over eight-month strike.
The Federal Government also accepted ASUU’s demand that they are exempted from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) pending the approval of their proposed payment system, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
It also reconstituted a committee to renegotiate the 2009 agreement between the Federal Government and universities-based unions, as demanded by ASUU.
The Federal Government and the leadership of ASUU, have continued to go back and forth on the over eight-month-long strike, there seems to be no ‘end in sight’ in the lingering strike, as both parties are yet to get to a meeting point, so a truce can be reached.