After nearly seven months of strike action which has kept students at home, the Federal Government has taken the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU), to the Industrial Court.
Recall that since February 14, ASUU has been on strike to bring attention to the deteriorating facilities at the various universities and the union’s claims of being ignored.
On Friday, sources from the Federal Ministry of Labour told newsmen that the ministry’s Trade Dispute Department had filed a complaint with the Abuja-based Industrial Arbitration Court, in accordance with Section 17 of the Trade Dispute Act, and that the hearing would begin the following Monday.
There have been multiple rounds of talks between the Federal Government and the ASUU, but nothing has come of it. When the Government and ASUU convened at the office of the National University Commission in Abuja last Tuesday, however, the talks hit a snag, as the government has pledged not to sign any more agreements it cannot carry out.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who announced this at a meeting of Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities, which was held at the NUC’s office, said President Buhari had cautioned the Government’s team negotiating with ASUU against signing a deal that the Government would not be able to fulfill.
The Minister had also announced that the Government has promised the union a 23.5% salary raise “for all categories of the workers at federal universities, except for the professorial cadre, who would enjoy a 35.5% upward review”. He also announced that N150 billion “must be earmarked for in the 2023 Budget as funding for the revitalisation of federal universities, to be distributed to the institutions in the First Quarter of the Year”
However, ASUU and three other university unions have rejected the offer, calling it “inadequate to meet their separate requests needed to solve the difficulties confronting the university system”.