Full activities may soon resume in Nigerian universities across the country as the non-teaching staff currently on strike have accepted the Federal Government’s proposal aimed at addressing their grievances.
Officials of the unions – Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, Non Academic Staff Union of Universities, NASU, and National Association of Academic Technologist, NAAT – told PREMIUM TIMES off the record that the strike could be suspended on Thursday or Friday.
The National President of the Joint Action Committee of the unions, Samson Ugwoke, spoke after the second open negotiation meeting with representatives of the government.
The second conciliatory meeting which started about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday and ended at 12:20 a.m. on Thursday is part of the steps taken by both teams to resolve issues involved in the ongoing nationwide strike.
”A three-page agreement was signed and endorsed by all of us,” Mr. Ugwoke said.
“We are taking our (own) document and we will make our pronouncement soon,” he said.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said both parties had come to the end of deliberation on the contentious issues which led to the strike.
The multiple demands by the union include: payment of earned allowances to their members; review of governance system in universities; improved funding of universities in line with UNESCO recommendations; provision of infrastructure in the universities; payment of salary shortfalls being owed; implementation of the National Industrial Court judgement on university staff schools; registration of Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company; NUPEMCO, and the implementation of CONTISS 14 and 15 for technologists.
The unions are also asking for an improvement in the teaching and learning facilities in the universities; stemming the tide of corruption in the university system and ”showing of commitment in the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/University unions Agreements.”
On the issue of inadequate infrastructure raised by the union, Mr. Ngige said a seven-member committee will be set up to handle the matter promising that the university system will be rejuvenated.
On that of endemic corruption in the universities, he said the government would ensure that the Internally Generated Revenue from universities are put to maximum use.
“Based on these conditions, we have agreed with the joint action committee that they will consult their organs and call off the strike as soon as possible,” he said.
“If you want the proof of the implementation, we will present it to you,” he added.
If the strike is suspended, the unions would be following the pathway of striking lecturers who also recently soft-pedalled on a debilitating strike they embarked upon to push home similar demands.