The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Thursday, said the failure of the federal government to address key issues that prompted its ongoing strike during their meeting on Tuesday informed the continuation of the industrial action.
Our correspondent reports that the industrial action began on February this year, and has lingered till date. Among other demands, the lecturers’ union wants the federal government to increase its funding of the education sector.
The Buhari government has maintained that it has no funds to meet ASUU demands.
ASUU President Prof Emmanuel Osodeke explained what transpired at Tuesday’s fruitless meeting in a release he made available to newsmen on Thursday.
The statement read, “The ‘award’ presented by the Nimi Briggs-led team came across in a manner of take-it-or-leave-it on a sheet of paper. No serious country in the world treats their scholars this way.
“Over the years, particularly since 1992, the union has always argued for and negotiated a separate salary structure for academics for obvious reasons.
“ASUU does not accept any awarded salary as was the case in the administration of General Abdulsalam Abubakar. The separate salary structures in all FGN/ASUU Agreements were usually the outcome of collective bargaining processes.
“The major reason given by the federal government for the miserly offer, paucity of revenue, is not tenable. This is because of several reasons chief of which is poor management of the economy. This has given rise to leakages in the revenue of governments at all levels. There is wasteful spending, misappropriation of fund and outright stealing of our collective patrimony.
“ASUU believes that if the leakages in the management of the country’s resources are stopped, there will be more than enough to meet the nation’s revenue and expenditure targets without borrowing and plunging the country into a debt crisis as is the case now.
“The New Draft Agreement has other major recommendations for the funding of major components of the renegotiated 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement. One of such recommendations is the tax on cellphone and communication lines.
“Ironically, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning recently announced its readiness to implement ASUU’s recommendation, as a revenue source, but not for education, without acknowledging the union!
“Our prayer: where there is will, there will be way. The federal government, through the Ministry of Education, should return to the New Draft Agreement of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Renegotiation Committee whose work spanned a total of five and half years as a demonstration of good faith.”