Tuesday, December 20, 2011

ASUU gives FG conditions to suspend strike

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Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has given conditions to be met by the Federal Government before its two-week-old strike is suspended. The union also stressed that the current strike had nothing to do with demand for new salary, but for government to invest funds to provide facilities to enhance learning and research in the universities which the signed agreement put at N1.518,331, 545,304trillion from 2009 to 2011.

The Chairman of ASUU, University of Lagos (UNILAG) branch, Dr. Oghenekaro Ogbinaka, while addressing newsmen, accused government of only implementing 10 per cent of the contentious agreement since 2009 even as he revealed that the union was not avoiding the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i based on the ongoing strike.

Ogbinaka disclosed that for decades, ASUU had engaged the Federal Government in protracted and consistent struggles on matters that concern quality tertiary education in the country which traversed both military and civilian governments.

He said strikes were unfortunate events in any workplace, noting “they are avoidable if the parties involved act rationally and proactively. They are avoidable where sincerity and integrity are the hallmark of the actors. The current status of university education is largely due to the effort of the struggles of ASUU.”

The UNILAG ASUU boss faulted the recent dissolution of all governing councils of federal universities in the wake of the ASUU strike, saying it was deliberate to stall discussions between the union and the government. He said the current non-existence of governing councils in all federal universities was affecting the parley.

He wondered why the Jonathan administration chose to dissolve the councils at a time when the union was agitating for the implementation of the 2009 agreement and noted that the Babalakin-led implementation committee was technically dead by the action of the government. He said: “When the councils were in place, government said there was no agreement with ASUU. So if we go into discussion, FG can say it was done with an illegal body.”
Ogbinaka said the dissolution of the governing councils was crippling the affairs of the universities as the vice chancellors had limited financial powers, contractual obligations, appointment, promotion and confirmation of staff while internal members had their tenure wasted during the period.

He listed conditions to be met before the union would call off the 17-day-old strike among which are the sincere implementation of the 2009 agreement, passage of the 70-year-old retirement age for professors, re-constitution of the councils, review of certain laws of the NUC, JAMB, Education Tax Act and National Minimum Standard Act.
As part of the conditions, Ogbinaka called on governors to key into the agreement to forestall another needless conflict between ASUU and state governments.

According to him, “necessary acts establishing the various state universities should be amended to unify them with those of the Federal Government.”
The union leader also called on Governor Babatunde Fashola to make the Lagos State University (LASU) a model in Africa, pointing out that “there is a great need to upgrade the hostels, classrooms, laboratories, libraries, staff offices and accommodation in our campuses.”
 Source: Sunnews

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