The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, says there is no going back on its one-week warning strike scheduled to begin on Wednesday.
Biodun Ogunyemi, the union’s National President, told the News Agency of Nigeria on a telephone on Tuesday in Lagos that the strike would be total.
The union leadership, after its emergency executive committee meeting, declared the warning strike at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.
Mr. Ogunyemi said chronic underfunding of the sector through low budgetary allocation, which went from 11 percent in 2015 to eight per cent in 2016, did not go down well with the union.
He pointed out the failure of the government to implement the 2009 agreement and the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as some of the reasons for embarking on the warning strike.
The president said that its members were tired of what they described as “government’s empty promises’’ in setting up its negotiation team for the review of agreement as consistently requested by ASUU since 2012.
“There shall be no teaching, no examination and no attendance of statutory meetings of any kind in any of our branches while the strike lasts.”
According to him, the union will put machinery in place to ensure that there is total compliance during the strike.
He explained that the essence of the warning strike was to draw the attention of concerned stakeholders and the general public to the challenges that the unions, universities and other stakeholders in the sector were facing.
“Nobody will say before we exhaust the warning strike some issues cannot be addressed if the government wants to be sincere with our cause.
“We are doing this because we want Nigerians to come into the matter and ensure that these issues are given the adequate attention they deserve.
“Our lecturers are given 40 percent of their salaries, which is just not encouraging, as this will lead to poor commitment in carrying out their jobs.
“I am sure nobody will like a 40 percent university education or 40 percent teaching of various courses including research development and output.
“That is why we have to take the matter before the National Assembly, which we believe, will come into the matter just like the Nigerian parents.’’
However, the Federal Government on Tuesday in Abuja appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to rescind its decision to embark on a one week warning strike from November 16.
Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment who made the appeal urged ASUU to shelve the strike to make room to address contending issues.
Ngige via a statement issued by Samuel Olowokere, Deputy Director of Press in the Ministry, said shelving the strike would ensure wider consultation.
“The claims of nationwide consultations by ASUU cannot be true as the Ministry of Labour and Employment which is the chief conciliator of industrial relations disputes is yet to receive a direct petition from ASUU. This is against the Federal Government who is the jurisdictional employer,” he said.
He emphasised the need for a proper renegotiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement which ASUU reached with the previous administration through a clear channel of social dialogue.
He said channel of dialogue would consist of the immediate employer, the Ministry of Education, and the Labour Ministry.
Ngige explained that in view of the prevailing circumstances, the issuance of warning strike by the union was unconstitutional.
“The body is yet to exhaust the conflict resolution mechanisms clearly mapped out in the labour laws,” he added.