Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) National President Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi on Wednesday said the union was considering the Federal Government’s offer.
He debunked claims that the union agreed to end its eight-month-old strike on Wednesday.
Ogunyemi said in a statement: “To put the records straight, the Principal Officers and Trustees, who constitute the core of representatives of ASUU at negotiation meetings with the government, are not constitutionally empowered to suspend any strike action.
“Whatever comes out of an engagement with agents of the government is an offer, which must be taken back to the branches through the various organs of the union.
“Views and perspectives on offers by governments are aggregated and presented to government agents as counter-offers.
“This trade union strategy of offer and counter-offer is continually deployed until the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU – consisting of all recognised chairpersons – finally approves what it considers an acceptable offer from the government.
“It is only then that any strike action by ASUU can be suspended.”
ASUU said following its meeting with the government’s representatives at the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on November 27, its leadership promised to faithfully present the latest government offer to its members through the established tradition.
The statement adds: “The latest offer by the government makes proposals on nearly all items of demand by the union with timelines.
“Among others, the document which was signed by Senator Ngige contains proposals on the inauguration of the reconstituted FGN-ASUU Renegotiation Committee (December 1); release of details about Visitation Panels (December 1); working on the actualisation of the release of the withheld salaries of ASUU members (December 9).
“Clause 9 on the document reads: ‘Based on these conclusions reached on items 1-8, ASUU’s leadership will consult its organs with a view to suspending the on-going strike’.
“Therefore, the ASUU leadership did not reach any understanding with the government to suspend the strike on 9th December 2020.
“There is nothing in the government offer of 27th November 2020 to suggest that conclusion as allegedly claimed by the Minister of Labour and Employment.
“The leadership of ASUU has consistently stated at every meeting with high ranking government officials that the union’s representatives have no mandate to take a final decision on any strike action by the union.
“All the leadership does is to present government offers through its organs, and that we have done faithfully in the current situation.”
Ogunyemi said the strike would be called off only “when the union’s organs affirm that the welfare and wellbeing of ASUU members, as well as the survival of our public universities, are sufficiently guaranteed.”