Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Sunday vowed not to resume work despite the federal government’s ‘resume or get sacked’ ultimatum which expires today, after the government shifted the deadline from last week Wednesday.
The union however said its members would not resume work until its agreements with President Goodluck Jonathan at the November 4 meeting are well-documented and signed.
The government had on November 28, at a press conference addressed by the supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, issued an ultimatum to the striking members of the union, after accusing the union of presenting fresh demands.
“…Any academic staff who fails to resume on or before the 4th of December, 2013 automatically ceases to be a staff of the institution and, Vice Chancellors are also directed to advertise vacancies (internal and external) in their institutions. The NUC is hereby directed to monitor compliance of these directives by the institutions” he said.
The union, however at a press conference addressed by its National President, Dr. Nasir Fagge, last Monday, said it was not bothered by the threat. It also refuted claims by Wike that it presented fresh demands.
Fagge explained that the union was only seeking for the consolidation of the agreements reached at the end of the 13-hour meeting with President Jonathan.
A member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of ASUU confided in Thisday that the position of the union has not changed on the issue, notwithstanding the threat by the government.
“Yes, a lot of our members voted that the strike should be called off, only if those conditions are met. We have insisted that the agreement be produced into a binding document. Why is that a big deal if the government is serious? That Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a tradition anytime a strike is to be called off between the two parties. This is a document that would be followed by the two parties. Nobody has done that, no instruction has been given.
“Finally, we asked that the non-victimisation clause to be added to the MoU. Whenever we undergo any strike, we expect that our members should retrieve whatever they lost during any strike. That has been the practice throughout history. We do not want another strike in the next few months concerning the salary arrears of all academic staff in the universities. That clause should be in the MoU,” the source said.
Reacting to comments credited to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, that the N200 billion infrastructure revitalisation fund had already been deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the ASUU official said the claim was left for pro-chancellors and the National Universities Commission (NUC) to verify as ASUU was not in position to do so.
Also speaking to Thisday, another ASUU official who craved anonymity said that the re-opening of some schools such as University of Abuja, Enugu State University and several others does not in any way affect the strike.
He said as far as the union is concerned, all ASUU members across Nigeria were on strike and would not teach.
“The managements of the schools say they have re-opened, but is any lecture going on? ASUU does not close schools anyway, we can only suspend our services,” he said.