Education

Again, ASUU Extends Six-Month-Old University Strike Indefinitely

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday extended its six-month-old strike.

The announcement came after a decision was taken at the National Executive Council meeting held at the union’s headquarters at the University of Abuja.

A member of the union, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the development to Channels Television following a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the striking varsity teachers at the University of Abuja.

He did not, however, disclose how long the union extended the industrial action.

ASUU embarked on the strike on February 14th, 2022. It had then declared a four-week warning strike. But after a month, the lecturers extended it by eight weeks, saying the government needs more time to look at its demands.

Following the Federal Government and lecturers’ inability to reach a resolution, the union on May 9 further extended the strike by 12 weeks.

The university teachers are seeking improved welfare, the revitalisation of public universities, and academic autonomy among others. Several meetings between government representatives and ASUU have ended in deadlock. One such was held about two weeks ago with the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee at the National University Commission (NUC) in Abuja.

But a senior member of ASUU told Channels Television that the Briggs Renegotiation Committee did not come up with a new deal. The anonymous source said the committee had pleaded with the union to suspend the strike and promised that their concerns will be included in next year’s budget.

Since the industrial dispute, several groups and individuals have waded into the matter. The latest is human rights lawyer Femi Falana who asked the Federal Government to sign the renegotiated agreement with the striking workers.

“Instead of engaging in the diversionary tactics of blackmailing ASUU the Federal Government should ensure that the strike is called off by signing the Renegotiated Agreement with ASUU without any further delay,” Falana said in a statement he issued on Sunday.

“While calling on both sides to resume the negotiations in the interest of the country the Federal Government should be prevailed upon to end the prolonged industrial action.”

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, had said the government had taken all possible steps to end the strike.

He said, “As regards the next steps, the government has already inaugurated a committee to harmonise the IPPIS, UTAS, and UP3. This will ensure that the government will pay with only one payment platform that will harmonise all the technical peculiarities.

“If you bring some demands and almost 80% have been attended to, there is no need to drag the strike anymore.

“It is unreasonable for the strike to be lingering seeing as the government has worked towards fulfilling most of the demands.”

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