ASUU Vowed to Continue with the Strike at NEC Meeting:
Nasir Issa-Fagge – National President, ASUU,
Hope of final resolution of the ongoing strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was dashed on Saturday, as the union has vowed to continue with the industrial action.
This was the outcome of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting secretly held in Kano, where it was agreed that the strike would continue until it got concrete assurance of implementation of all agreements from the Federal Government.
In a release the union sent to its members and obtained by Sunday Tribune, it said: “…based on feedback from branches, the union resolved to clear some grey areas before any further action. If we must remove strikes as a regular feature in our University system, then we must get things sorted out permanently. Be steadfast as we await next congress meeting.”
Attempts by pressmen, who had positioned themselves at the Bayero University Kano as early as 7 a.m. yesterday, to get the outcome of the meeting were unsuccessful, as it was learnt that the branch chairmen of the union across the country, which converged on Kano on Friday, had decided not to talk to the media.
Sunday Tribune reliably gathered that the ASUU NEC was still meeting as of 7 p.m. yesterday, hoping to reach a concrete decision which it would transmit to other members at the next congress meeting.
According to a source, who spoke to Sunday Tribune on condition of anonymity, though the union agreed that the offer by Federal Government to inject N200 billion into universities annually, beginning from 2014 and for the next four years was sensible, members were skeptical about the implementation of all the agreements reached.
“We agreed that the Federal Government’s offer is sensible but we are not convinced about its implementation and so we have to continue the strike so as to fully sort things out to avoid future strikes,” the source stated.
ASUU had embarked on the strike in July, following the failure of the Federal Government to implement a 2009 agreement it entered into with the union, citing the needs to upgrade the universities to world standards and improve the condition of service of the lecturers, among others, with the Federal Government releasing N100billion for the improvement of universities and N40 billion to be shared as earned allowance, while promising to make more funds available.
Sunday Tribune, however, gathered that a fresh crisis might have been set off in the union over the issue of earned allowance.
According to the source, the manner university management shared the earned allowance among varsity workers was already causing disaffection among ASUU members. The lecturers, it was learnt, felt bitter that their struggle had only benefited SSANU and NASU which did not participate in the strike but got hefty returns, “because the managements have shared the allowance wrongly.
“ASUU members got less than they deserved from the allowance while other unions fed fat from it; it looks as if we only fought for other unions. Members are really angry about this,” he said, noting that these were some of the issues that would be tabled at the congress of the union later in the week.
Other contentious issues, stated the source, “are the 2009 agreement which is due for re-negotioation and our salary. We felt that until these are resolved, it will be futile to call off the strike. So the strike continues.”