Fed Govt, ASUU to resume discussion next week

After four hours of talks, Thursday’s meeting between the Federal Government’s team and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), ended without the teachers agreeing to shelve their three-day old strike.

Both sides agreed to resume discussion next week following a “successful deliberation”.

Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige, who chaired the meeting, said that the government had proposed a merger of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS and the University Transparency and Account System (UTAS) developed by university lecturers as a way out of the contentious payroll system.

Dr. Ngige told reporters before the meeting went into technical session that the government called the meeting because of the two-week warning strike declared by ASUU leadership on Tuesday.

The minister faulted the union for not properly informing the government of its decision to withdraw services from the universities as prescribed by the provisions of industrial relations.

However, he told reporters that the government team and ASUU representatives had fruitful discussions, adding that the parties debated where necessary by putting forward their points.

The minister stressed: “We had a fulfilling discussion. Where necessary, we debated and put forward our points on both sides. We used the Memorandum of Action which we entered into in February 2019 and looked at issues that were not fully addressed. We moved to the non-caption of some ASUU members on IPPIS platform which resulted in the withholding of their salaries.

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“Both sides realised we are working for our country. ASUU already has the UTAS. We had preliminary agreement to accommodate the two systems. ASUU will have to get back to its members and agree on how to couple the two systems. We will continue discussion. After ASUU consults with its members and decision making authority, we will meet on Monday or Tuesday.”

ASUU President Prof Biodun Ogunyemi said the issues discussed came from outstanding issues which had been overshadowed by IPPIS.

Prof. Ogunyemi said that both sides have agreed to consult and get back at a later date.

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