The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has expressed confidence that the Academic Staff Union of Universities will accept the new offer tabled before them by the Federal Government and end the eight-month strike which began in March.
Urging the university Lecturers to hasten their consultation on Friday, the Minister noted that the latest offer has been the best so far since he began leading the negotiation team.
“I feel that even this offer is one of the best they have ever gotten since I started conciliation with them. I do not see why they should not accept it. Everything they asked for has been granted. I don’t think they should say the offer is not good.
“But I told them before they left that asking the nation and the students to wait from Friday to Friday is unfair, they should come back to us by Tuesday. They have done that before when we negotiated with the Senate President. The offer was made on a Thursday and they came back to us on a Tuesday.
“So, that’s what I expect them to do this time around. If they do so, the nation will appreciate them and regard them as patriotic citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I expect them to get back to me much earlier than Friday,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, reports had earlier had it that the Federal Government, in giving in to the demand by ASUU, has exempted the lecturers from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
The government also offered to increase the Earned Allowances to university staff from N30 billion to N35b and the Revitalisation Fund from N20b to N25b.
The development came after weeks of negotiations and disagreements by the FG and ASUU, which proposed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution as its preferred payment platform.
Reading out the communique at the end of a seven-hour negotiation with ASUU members in Abuja on Friday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, had said the government also agreed to ASUU’s demand to pay their members’ salary arrears from February to June through the old salary payment platform, Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System.
The breakthrough in negotiations is expected to end the eight-month strike embarked on by the university lecturers as parents and students wait on ASUU to call off the strike.
However, the leadership of the union had returned home to negotiate with her members.