STRIKE: FG, ASUU Set To Resume Negotiation.
In a bid to resolve the lingering Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, the Federal Government has decided to subject the union’s alternative salary payment platform, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), to integrity test.*
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who disclosed this yesterday said government would in the weeks ahead invite ASUU to come and demonstrate UTAS, which the union claimed was its alternative to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) put in place by government for all federal institutions.
Ngige who said ASUU was about the only union still having misgivings IPPIS, assured that government was doing everything possible to ensure the matter was resolved so that students would not be stranded when universities resume.
He confirmed that ASUU has written him on its development of UTAS, adding that platform would be subjected to integrity test by the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant General’s office where IPSS is domicile.
“Is only ASUU that said they are on strike, that they went on strike before the COVID, they are not yet back from the COVID but in the next week or so we will deal with that because they have written me now to say that they have developed University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) which they said it is their own alternative to IPPIS.
“So, we will invite them so that they can demonstrate it to the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant General’s office where IPSS is housed and we will subject the things to integrity test.But subjecting them to integrity test will also take some time. So, inbetween the test and everything, we will agree on what we are going to be doing, because for now, most of them are already on IPPIS even though they complained about some shortcomings.”
The minister noted that many students were due for graduation but for the COVID-19 pandemic hence the need to ensure that nothing obstructs academic session when schools reopen.
“So, we are trying to arrange a meeting so that we can all meet and agree on modus oparandi, so that when universities reopen as we expect in the weeks to come, the teachers will go and teach their students.”
Ogunyemi disclosed that UTAS software was presented to the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu and other senior management of the Federal Ministry of Education, including Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, for government to subject the software to integrity tests.
Recalled that bootinfos has reported that there is Strong indications emerged at the weekend that the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will soon resume negotiations to end the four-month strike by lecturers.
The ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, told Newsmen at the weekend that the union had met with the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to help facilitate resumption of talks with the federal government on the lecturers’ grievances, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, also confirmed to THISDAY that he was set to invite the union to resume talks.
Ogunyemi said ASUU was ready to resume negotiations but an invitation had not been extended to it.
Yes, we had a discussion with the minister of education recently and we are hoping that he would provide a platform for further discussions with the government.
So, for now, we are in touch with the minister of education only that we have not specified the time for the resumption of negotiations. We will be resuming talks as soon as they call us,” he stated.
The federal government is set to communicate with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the industrial action the union embarked upon on April 9, 2020.
The subject of the expected letter is to ask the striking lecturers to get ready to resume work while tabling their grievances for consideration. STRIKE: FG, ASUU Set To Resume Negotiation
Unlike when the government rejected ASUU’s preference for physical meeting, the former has now accepted to fix a date for resumption of negotiations if the lecturers suspend their four-month-old strike.
According to our informant umerah Rapheal although no date has been fixed for the next meeting with ASUU, a letter is to be sent to the union before the end of the week as a measure of goodwill, to urge the leadership of the union to suspend their action so that schools can resume.
“The move is meant to solicit the cooperation of the university lecturers in the efforts to put necessary mechanism in place for the reopening of tertiary institutions after months of closure due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government will write to request that ASUU should suspend its industrial action to enable talks to commence on their grievances. The suspension of the strike is also important to get the university teachers involved in the preparations for the reopening of the institutions,” He said.
The federal government had earlier planned a virtual meeting to sort out outstanding issues with ASUU, but the union said it preferred physical meeting which it felt would be able to trash out their main problem.
However, the government source told Our informant Umerah Rapheal that with the reviewed COVID-19 lockdown, consideration for a physical meeting with ASUU is on.