By Abiola Olawale
The meeting between the Federal Government and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Educational Institutions (NASU) on Tuesday failed to stop university workers from going ahead with their proposed strike.
NASU, which is an arm of Senior Staff Association Nigerian Universities (SSANU), had earlier issued a statement stating that its workers will embark on an indefinite strike starting from February 5, over the inconsistencies in implementation of the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS), and the non-payment of the arrears of minimum wage.
Following a meeting on Tuesday, the federal government could not reach an agreement with NASU.
While speaking with the press at the end of the meeting, Peters Adeyemi, General Secretary, NASU, said the meeting failed to yield any good results, noting that the proposed strike still continues. In his words, “As a result of that development, we asked that the government should allow us time to meet our members and seek further mandate. Clearly, the agenda of the meeting has not been exhausted, so there are still issues to be addressed. Infact, one of the most contentious issues is yet to be discussed. We are favourably disposed to dialogue and after discussing with our members, we will come back and continue with the discussion. So far, nothing has been concluded. We don’t have the mandate to talk about suspending strike. That’s not within our competence. The mandate of our members stands until they ask us to reverse it.”
However, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige response was in contrast with Adeyemi’s response. He said the meeting was successful and it is yielding good fruits. In his words, “The deliberations were fruitful, government side responded to issues concerning IPPIS and what is being done to assist university workers, who have had some complains in that direction especially some of their allowances they said was chopped of by IPPIS system. We were satisfied that reasonable progress have been made. It is a work in progress.
It would be recalled that the non-teaching staff which is under SSANU, proposed an indefinite strike, which will begin on February 5 over the issues generated by the IPPIS and non-payment of minimum wage arrears. Following the end of the two weeks strike notice by the NASU, the association has decided to embark on an indefinite strike as the government failed to resolve their issues.