The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) last night called off its over one-month strike after reaching an agreement with the federal government.
The ASUU President, Ogunyemi Abiodun, announced after a meeting with the union’s executives that they would suspend the industrial action for one month till end of October.
Abiodun said this was to allow government enough time to fulfill its promises as contained in the recent agreement reached with them.
To this end, the union directed university lecturers to resume duty from today.
The union had embarked on an indefinite strike on August 13, following government’s failure to implement the agreement reached with the union in November 2016.
The union’s decision to suspend the strike was reached after an almost four hours closed-door meeting with the federal government delegation led by the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige.
At the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the union and Ngige on behalf of the federal government.
Others who signed the document were: President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi and other members of the government team.
He listed highlights of the agreement reached to include; funding of government universities, payment of earned academic allowances, government responsibility as regards academic staff schools (primary wing), pension matters for professors, payment of salary shortfalls on which implementation has already commenced and resolution on exemption of TSA payment system in certain areas.
The labour minister said the grey areas were conclusively dealt with to the satisfaction of both parties which he attributed to the spirit of giving and taking exhibited by both parties with great acknowledgement of the economic situation of the country.
Expressing hope that ASUU would call off the strike, Ngige said: “ASUU will go back to consult its organ with a view to calling off the strike. We hope to hear a good news from them in the next 24 hours so that our children can go back to class. They got nearly everything they wanted.”
Reacting, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said: “Government will hear from us in the next 24 hours. It could even be less than that because our members are waiting for us.”
Ogunyemi who promised that the union would not rest on its oars until the country’s education system is transformed, said it was high time Nigeria returned back to the era of being an educational tourist destination for other African countries.
He appreciated both the labour minister and the education minister as well as other stakeholders that were involved in the series of consultations that resulted in the milestone reached through the signed agreement