The Federal Government has announced that it is set to resume negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities next week.
This was disclosed by Nigeria’s Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, during a meeting with the striking National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
He noted that the FG is hopeful of arriving at a conclusion soon with the union, stating that the academic unions do not take advantage of open-door policies with the FG.
What the minister is saying
He assured that the government was tackling all the disputes in the education sector holistically, knowing full well that none of the unions could function effectively without the others.
- He said, “If you are from any union, you don’t need to book appointment to see me. The doctors started using that advantage, JOHESU also did the same.
- “That is why the Health Sector is quiet. But the education unions don’t take advantage of my open-door policy.”
- “We don’t have to cry over spilt milk. Let us look at your issues to see the ones we can handle immediately, the ones we can do in the medium term and the ones we can do in the long term.
- “There are certain ones that are over and above me that are not in my hands to do.
- “My job is to prepare an agreement after conciliation on what you have agreed with your employers, the Federal Ministry of Education, put timelines and monitor them, to see whether the results will be there.
- “That is why I want to take all of you holistically and I ask for your cooperation. When I finish with you today, I will continue with ASUU next week,” he said.
He added that he has also met with NASU and SSANU and they were happy, adding that issues that have delayed negotiations with ASUU include money and welfare, old arrears and 2009 renegotiation of conditions of service.
With an open mind, we will arrive at something. Once we arrive at something, it will be done,” he said.
He, however, noted that the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement would not be immediate because the Education Ministry had put in place a committee to handle it.