Court Order: FG Still Opened To Negotiate With ASUU – Ngige
The Federal Government says it will continue to negotiate with ASUU in spite of Wednesday’s court ruling restraining the union from continuing with its seventh-month strike.
The minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, said when members of the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics paid him a visit in Abuja on Wednesday.
TalkGlitz Media reported the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICM, in Abuja ordered the striking lecturers to return to the classroom, on Wednesday, following a suit filed by the Federal Government.
ASUU began its strike to demand that the Federal Government revisit some agreements signed between them in 2009 and improve varsity funding and payment of earned allowances.
The lecturers also want the Federal Government to shelve its Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in paying lecturers’ salaries
The Federal Government uses the IPPIS platform to pay its employees.
They demanded that rather than its IPPIS, the government should adopt the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, the payment platform designed by the universities themselves to pay lecturers.
The minister told his visitors that the Industrial Court’s ruling was in the best interest of Nigeria and its people.
According to him, the ruling is a win-win for the government, students, lecturers and for all Nigerians.
Ngige said, “The court ruling does not preclude us from going on with further negotiation and consultations,’’
“It is no victor, no vanquished.
“You doctors in academics are for now members of ASUU. But you are here, even though you have dissociated yourselves and are working.
“We want to thank you for working and teaching your students.”
The minister also spoke on the recent meeting between ASUU and the leadership of the house of representatives and commended Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, and other lawmakers for their efforts.
After the meeting involving the lawmakers, Gbajabiamila had said the leadership of the house of representatives would hold a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on the matter.
“Since the house has shown interest now, it is good and wonderful. When they bring that proposal, the executive will not have any problem,” Ngige said.
“ASUU should also know that this is a step in the right direction. All these things have been promised to them by the minister of education at their last meeting.
“For me, they should do the needful and return to the classroom.”
Ngige added that the federal government would soon direct vice-chancellors to reopen the universities in compliance with the order of the court.