THE Academic Staff Union of Universities has said its members are still consulting on the next line of action as the ultimatum it gave the Federal Government to meet their demands expired in the early hours of Wednesday.
The PUNCH had on Monday reported exclusively ASUU’s readiness to embark on another round of industrial action following what it called the failure of the Federal Government to implement an agreement signed with the union.
The union gave the government till end of August (Tuesday) to reach out or it would activate the procedure of embarking on strike.
The union’s President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, who disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday, had claimed that the FG no longer picked its calls.
ASUU had further explained that the ultimatum would expire on midnight of Tuesday, following which a meeting of its National Executive Council would be convened to decide the next line of action.
But after the expiration of the ultimatum on Wednesday, Osodeke again told The PUNCH that a decision on the next line of action had not been taken.
“We are still meeting to know the next line of action; there are consultations going on,” he said.
While the nation is waiting to know the union’s next line of action, however, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the Ministry of Education, being their employers, was the one in talks with the university’s teachers, and not his ministry.
He said he was aware that the Ministry of Education and ASUU set up a committee that had since submitted its report.
He said it was left for the ministry to get back to the Federal Government if it agreed with the recommendations made.
Ngige said, “The Ministry of Labour and Employment is not ASUU’s employer. It is the Ministry of Education, their employer that they are in talks with.”
But Osodeke said Ngige cannot dissociate himself from the issue on the ground.
He said, “The Minister of Labour; he cannot disassociate himself from the issues on the ground. He keeps saying he is just a reconciliatory. You chaired a meeting, you tried to broker peace and then there was a conclusion and it has not been implemented. You can’t disassociate yourself from it.
“If anything happens, he is the one who will run to the industrial court; he is the one who will implement the court process. So, how can he disassociate himself? He can’t.”