ASUU: Anxiety as indefinite strike may begin today

As the second round of an eight-week warning strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) comes to an end today, the union is preparing to announce an indefinite strike.The second round of the warning was declared by ASUU after a meeting of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) on March 14, at its University of Abuja secretariat.Sources say the union’s

national leadership will make its decision public today.

According to reports, NEC had previously authorised the national leadership to direct members to go on indefinite strike if no tangible results were achieved during the eight-week warning strike.Many undergraduates are anxiously waiting for a review of the strike.

The Guardian gathered that two key issues that must be resolved before the union suspends its action are: renegotiation of the 2009 Federal Government-ASUU agreement bordering on the working conditions of Nigerian academics and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).While ASUU was into the second round of its warning strike, other staff unions in the university system also downed tools.They are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Allied Institutions (NASU).

The Federal Government last week said it would resume negotiations with ASUU this week, with a view to ending the prolonged closure of Universities.Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, disclosed this in his opening remark at a meeting between the government side and NAAT.

Ngige noted that the multiple industrial disputes in the education sector could have been averted if unions took advantage of his open-door policy.When contacted, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said the union had not received any invitation from the government’s team as of the weekend.He said: “We too heard in the news what the Minister of Labour said about meeting with us. But as we talk, nobody has reached out to us for any meeting. We don’t know when the meeting will be called.”

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