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FG directs varsity councils to negotiate with ASUU

That won’t happen, say teachers

By Emmanuel Edukugho & Olubusuyi Adenipekun
The Federal Government has asked the university councils to resume negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The Chairman, Governing Council of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, Dr. Olu Alabi, said this in Abuja on Tuesday.

Members of ASUU are currently on a two-month-old strike to press demand for improved funding of universities, autonomy, better pay and an increase in the retirement age to 70.

Alabi said the negotiations appeared to have broken down but now the government had asked the councils to reopen talks with the union.

He said the development followed the realisation by the government that the councils were the real employers of the teachers.

Alabi added that some teachers were already appealing to ASUU to call off the strike before the government invoked the “no work, no pay,” policy.

He appealed to ASUU leadership to consider the welfare of the teachers on whose cause they are fighting.

Alabi further called on university alumni, holding top positions, to contribute their quota to the development of education.

However, ASUU National President, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, in a reaction, told Vanguard on phone that governing councils of universities cannot negotiate on behalf of the teachers.

He explained that the central negotiating framework which was employed in the negotiation was legally valid and in accordance with the principles of collective bargaining recognised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO),and Nigerian law and practice.

“So, therefore, the question of ASUU resuming negotiations directly with councils does not arise.”

He pointed out that the Federal Government had no right or power to unilaterally terminate a process of collective bargaining.

Awuzie stated that there were some forces in the government bent on frustrating the emergence of a centrally-signed agreement with ASUU. “These forces are aware that no agreement will be signed at individual council levels,” adding, “the councils do not have the financial means of implementing the funding requirements.”

According to the ASUU president, the Minister of Education, top officials at the Ministry of Education, the NUC Executive Secretary and ETF scribe have been striving hard to abrogate the negotiation, or, if that fails, “transfer them to where they will fail – to councils.”


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