Strike: Nigerian university unions to consider religious body’s call to resume work

Striking university workers’ unions have said their members would “consider” the call by the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) seeking a suspension of their ongoing strike while negotiations continue. Unions include the Universities Academic Staff Union (ASUU), the Nigerian Universities Senior Staff Association (SSANU), the Educational and Associated Institutions Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT). ). A statement issued by the Ministry of Labor and signed by its head of press and public relations, Olajide Oshundun, said NIREC chairman and Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar made the appeal on Thursday during a “tripartite-plus” meeting between unions of striking university workers and representatives of the government and other interested parties. The statement said that Abubakar expressed frustration with the continued closure of universities, noting that the development poses a danger, especially with activities ramping up ahead of the 2023 general election. The statement added that the monarch and religious leader said that the universities must be reopened as soon as possible so that it does not provide an opportunity “for those politicians who do not want things to go well, to use those children as political thugs. ” Meanwhile, in their separate responses to PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday, the leadership of ASUU and that of the SSANU and NASU Joint Action Committee (JAC) confirmed the appeal and promised that its members would render the final verdict. About the appeal According to the Labor Ministry statement, Abubakar called for a compromise between the parties. “I don’t think it’s that beneficial to us while our kids are at home threatening violence across the country, blocking roads and airports and we as seniors sit back and watch,” he said. “The best thing is to go back to the classroom and continue negotiating. We will continue to sit together until the final solution is reached. It is not impossible.” He added that it would bode danger to allow young people to “sit idly by” at home. “This is why we plead with the unions to see the need to call off the strike while we continue negotiating.” The statement also quoted NIREC co-chair and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) president Supo Ayokunle as pointing out that the underfunding of universities not only started, “but grew out of long periods of neglect by previous institutions.” . governments, which have snowballed into our current situation.” ASUU speaks ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke, a teacher, told PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday that the union would consider the appeal and make its decision known. He confirmed that NIREC appealed to the striking unions on Thursday. He said such appeals are not new to ASUU. “It is an appeal and our members would consider it. It is not an application but an appeal and appeals are generally for your consideration.” Osodeke, however, did not say when the union would decide. “When the decision is made, everyone will know,” he said. JAC reacts Reacting on behalf of the SSANU and NASU JAC on Saturday, SSANU National Vice President for the Western Zone, Abdussobur Salaam, said the unions have referred the appeal to various union bodies for consideration. According to Mr. Salaam, NIREC members are respected religious elders and role models in society. He thanked them for their intervention. However, he urged members to also call on the government to always keep its promises and instill a culture of trustworthiness. “We are no strangers to appeals as parent forums, student bodies have also reached out at one point or another. “Everyone is respected, and especially the NIREC leadership. But we have found ourselves at this level due to the government’s lack of sincerity. Therefore, it is also important that the government be called upon to change its character. “We have referred the appeal to the relevant bodies of our unions and I can assure you that our decision will be made public in the coming days.” optimistic minister The Minister of Labor and Employment, Chris Ngige, at the end of the meeting on Thursday was optimistic that the agreements reached with the unions begin to bear fruit next week. Mr. Ngige said they had a cordial and fruitful discussion, and “discussed the issues dispassionately and reached some agreements, to the satisfaction of all in attendance.” “We discussed. Everybody was happy. We reached some agreements and hopefully by next week those agreements will start to mature and the four unions will also inform their members so they can call off the strike.” The minister added that they put timetables on some issues such as the 2009 agreement insofar as it affects the renegotiation of service conditions and salary review, which, according to him, would be concluded next week. The statement noted that the chairman of the meeting and President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff, Ibrahim Gambari, a professor, lamented that the perennial problems in the university system have culminated in the mutilation of the nation’s educational calendar. “When students graduate, they gain automatic admission to higher education institutions in other parts of the world. Not long ago we had professors and students from universities in other countries coming to work at our universities. “Not long ago, we had a schedule and predictability of when a student enters college and when they can graduate. But we all know that all that has changed and the impact on our education system and even the reputation of our universities has been devastating.” Gambari assured that the president “was determined to end this negativity and get students and teachers back into classrooms so that students are in classrooms and not at home during the educational calendar year.” background The tripartite plus committee was composed of Mr. Gambari and the Ministers of Education and Labor and Employment, Adamu Adamu and Chris Ngige, respectively. It also included members of NIREC. They met with the leaders of all the striking university unions to forge a way out of the ongoing strike that has closed the Nigerian public university for 89 days. PREMIUM TIMES had reported on Wednesday how the Minister of Labor had sent invitations to the parties involved for a meeting in the banquet hall of the state chamber. Mr. Buhari issued the directive to call the meeting on February 1, but Mr. Gambari did not give reasons why he did not call the meeting more than three months later. ASUU, while announcing the extension of its strike for another three months on Monday, cited officials’ failure to implement the president’s directive to call the meeting and avoid industrial action as part of the reasons for the extended strike. Qosim Suleiman is a reporter for PREMIUM TIMES in collaboration with report to the worldthat unites local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on hidden topics around the world. Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; Strike: Nigerian university unions to consider religious body’s call to resume work