17th November, 2021
The Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Chris Ngige has said that he has not been officially informed that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) wants to embark on strike.
He however assured that the Federal Government would not allow the union embark on the strike as threatened.
Ngige said this on Tuesday during an interview on Politics Today, a program by Channels TV.
“The strike will not happen. For one, I know that the fund to pay with is there and the Ministry of Education has assured me that by Wednesday they would emanate letters to make sure that the disbursement reaches the accounts of the various universities.
“We are not paying the unions directly, it will get to the universities’ accounts.
“I will have a meeting with the Minister of State for Education who is the one in charge of the affairs now because the main minister (Adamu Adamu) is overseas on health grounds.
“I will evaluate the situation with him and we would make sure that the disbursement goes on.”
ASUU on Monday threatened to go on strike after a 21-day ultimatum over claims that the government has failed to implement agreements they both reached during previous meetings.
After a nine-month long strike in 2020, ASUU and FG signed an agreement aimed at addressing some of the demands of the union, a development that led to the suspension of the strike.
President of ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, at a press conference held on Monday had blamed the Federal Government for failing to honour the agreement it signed with the union.
Ngige while speaking on Tuesday night, however, promised to be proactive noting that one of the mandate of his ministry is to settle industrial dispute.
“No. I’m still in the office (as of 7 pm) and I’m working. Till now, I have not gotten communication from them but that is not to say that having seen that they have been addressing press conferences that they have issued an ultimatum, that the government won’t be proactive or the Ministry of Labour will not be proactive.”
According to Ngige, one of the mandates of the ministry is to settle industrial disputes.
“As far as we are concerned, we have hit the ground running, making contacts with their real employers – the direct employers of university teachers, which is the Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission,” he said.