Tuesday, 2 July 2013

ASUU begins Nationwide Strike today over allowances

Nigerian University lecturers,
under the
Academic Staff Union of
Universities (ASUU),
on Monday began a nationwide
indefinite strike.
The ASUU National President, Isa
Fagge, told
journalists of the development
at a news
conference via telephone at the University of
He said that the decision to have
the strike
was reached at the National
Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of ASUU
held at the
Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago
Iwoye, on
Mr. Fagge told journalists that the strike,
which takes immediate effect, will
comprehensive, total and
indefinite''. He said
that the action was as a result of the inability
of the Federal Government to
some of the issues contained in a
agreement it had with ASUU. The unionist said that the
government had
also reneged on the
Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) it entered
into with the union in December 2011.
"Before now, there has been this
issue of the
implementation of the key issues
contained in
the 2009 agreement we entered into with the
Federal Government.
"We have had several meetings
deliberations to let government
understand why these issues must be
resolved but it is
like the more we meet and
deliberate, the
messier the issue gets.
"One of the issues that needed to be
addressed was basically that of
the Academic
earned allowance. This earned
and other issues, had dragged on until
government then agreed to
write an MOU
with the union.
"But as we speak, there has
been nothing to show that government was
committed to an
MOU it also willingly wrote to
better the
university sector.
"It is in this regard that we are embarking on
an indefinite strike," he said.
Mr. Fagge said that having
waited patiently
for the government to swing
into action to no avail, the NEC of the union
decided to meet,
deliberate and come up with the
Karo Oghenekaro, the Chairman
of the University of Lagos chapter of
the union, told
journalists that government's
penchant for
reneging on agreements was not
acceptable. He said that government
entered into the
MOU with ASUU after the union
suspended its
strike two and a half years ago.
Mr. Oghenekaro explained that the
government had made essential
laws on
some of the burning issues such
as the 70
years retirement age of lecturers as well as
the pension commission.
According to him, government,
however, is
not forthcoming with other
pressing demands such as the earned allowance.
He noted that the academic
allowance was expected to take
care of
excess work load carried out by the lecturers
such as examination officers,
deans and
supervision of post graduate,
masters and
other programmes. "I want to say that not all
lecturers are
entitled to this allowance, but as
we speak,
not a single lecturer under the
aforementioned categories has received any
such allowance.
"What we are demanding as the
allowance is not more than N12,
500 per person, yet government is
saying it cannot
afford such.
"Government was actually
thinking of the cost
implication of everything but after much
deliberation, government agreed
to sign the
MoU and said it had set aside
N100 billion to
take care of all the burning issues.
"However, government came
back to us and
pleaded for a reduction and we
decided to
step the cost down to 80 per cent. That not
enough, it also appealed for
reduction to 50 per cent.
"This 50 per cent, government
said, will be a one off payment; that it was
from that 50 per
cent that we shall take care of
including the earned allowance.
"This did not go down well with us and so we
decided to meet and take the
decision we
have just taken," he said.
According to him, the Nigerian
tertiary education sector is where it is
because of
inadequate funding. He said that
one of the
reasons why there were no
foreign scholars in the system was because of the
poor wages.
"When we agitate about earned
we are also using it to as a
means of attracting foreign scholars so it
is not all about
our personal interest.
"We are also using it to address
the issue of
brain drain in the system. As it were, our best
brains are all drifting into
industries and other
sectors that will pay them
better, rather than
ploughing back into the academic sector.

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