ByÂ Festus Ahon
UGHELLIâ€”THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the weekend vowed to continue with the ongoing strike until their demands were met by the Federal Government.
Professor Idowu Awopetu of the Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile-Ife who led high-powered national delegation of ASUU to the Delta State University Abraka, said the union has gone round their branches in the zone and resolved to continue with the strike for as long as the Federal Government refuses to do what is right for this country.
Awopetu who was joined by the executives of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, University of Benin, Benin City, Niger-Delta University, Wilberforce Island,Yenogoa, and Ado Ekiti University, Ekiti State, maintianed that ASUU was not going to be blackmailed into abandoning its role in the society.
The ASUU leader berated state governorsâ€™ decision to back the Federal Governmentâ€™s â€œobdurate positionâ€ on ASUU strike and insisted that the issue of collective bargaining does not violate the Nigerian constitution
He said: â€œContrary to what the Federal Government and the state governors say there is no way that the collective agreement reached between Federal Government and ASUU violates any law” and debunked Federal Governmentâ€™s claim that its refusal to sign and implement agreement reached between it and the lecturers’ union was due to its adherence to the practice of federalism.
According to him, the framework for collective bargaining was stipulated in the law, pointing out that for universities the framework was association of university governing councils.
While observing that the excuse by the federal authorities on federalism in the ASUU strike action was an attempt to destroy the union, he held that if the insistence on federalism as an excuse in reneging on agreement with ASUU was genuine and said it should adopt same with the oil industry, abolish the National Economic Council (NEC), Revenue Allocation, Mobilization and Fiscal Commission (RAMFC), INEC, NJC and other federal institutions.
Awopetu said the 40% salary increase offered by the federal Government was propagandist, dishonest and dishonourable, adding that at no time during the negotiation did ASUU talk about percentages rather it used African average to arrive at salaries.