Benjamin Babine, Abuja
There are indications that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may be ready to call off their strike following negotiations with the Federal Government on Friday which led to the government agreeing to pay N70b to the Union.
After almost 10 hours of negotiations, both parties reached a consensus at a meeting which was led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in Abuja.
According to a source, the understanding reached by both parties was due to the pledge by government to pay N40 billion as the Earned Allowance and N30bn for the revitalization of the university system.
This brings the total payment promised the Union to N70 billion, with an agreement arrears of salaries would be settled before December 31. Although ASUU had only informed newsmen there was a new proposal which they must first report to its members, the source noted that ASUU had insisted the agreement must not be announced until approved by its members, after a which the strike would likely be called off.
Ngige who spoke to newsmen after the meeting, maintained that the deliberations were fruitful as a new proposal had been made to ASUU to take back to members and take a decision afterwards. In his words: “Many issues were discussed at the meeting including salary shortfall, the payment system and revitalization of the university system. I am positive that all the issues would be resolved at our next meeting.”
However, ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi only acknowledged all that the Minister had said, but declined further comment.