The federal government on Friday bowed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and agreed to pay the university lecturers their outstanding salaries from February to June using old salary payment GIFMIS platform.
This was part of many agreements reached at the end of 7-hour negotiation meeting between government delegation led by minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige and ASUU members, led by their President, Biodun Ogunyemi.
Reading out the communiqué at the end of the meeting, Ngige said government has also offered to increase the Earned Academic Allowances to university staff from N30 billion to N35 billion or N40 billion and revitalization fund from N20 billion to N25 billion.
The minister said that ASUU is expected to go and relay the latest proposals to its organs and revert to government, so that the universities can reopen next week, adding that the government also accepted to wave the threat of “no work, no pay” and approve payment of salary arrears to the striking lecturers.
Ngige said, “The meeting agreed that the Federal Ministry of Education and that of Labour and Employment will look into issue of ‘No work, No pay’ as stipulated in Section 43 of the Trade Union Disputes Act, Cap 18 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 with a view to getting approval for the withheld salaries to be paid.
“It was also agreed that the mode of payment applied of those that had not been captured on the IPPIS platform between the months of February and June, 2020 be adopted for the purpose of payment during this transition period.”
Similarly, the minister noted that the meeting agreed that a suitable template that will address all the anomalies identified in the previous processes should be handled by the Accountant-General of the Federation, the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission and Vice Chancellors of the universities.
He explained that Vice Chancellors are to submit details of Earned Academic Allowances and Earned Allowances to the NUC before November 30.
On the reconstitution of the federal government’s negotiating team for the 2009 agreement, Ngige said that both were satisfied with the progress so far made, adding that letters have been issued to members of the renegotiation team.
According to him, the meeting agreed the inauguration of the university Visitation panels will be carried out as soon as the institutions reopened while awaiting gazetting.
Speaking after the meeting, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi told journalists that the union had received the new proposals by the federal government and that it will go and consult with its organs before taking a position.
He said, “I don’t really have much to say as the minister had said it all. Government has given us offers and we have promised to go back to our organs to brief them and then come back to government. We acknowledge that progress has been made.”
Ogunyemi reiterated that ASUU would need till next week to meet with its organs before reverting to government. The meeting was therefore adjourned till next week, Friday.