The Federal Government has said that it supports the revision of the university workers’ benefit package in accordance with contemporary reality.
Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, announced this on Monday during a meeting with members of the 2009 FG and university-based unions renegotiation committee.
Ngige confessed that the government was dissatisfied with the Academic Staff Union of Universities’, ASUU’s, attitude to pursuing its demands.
On February 14, ASUU began a one-month warning strike, which was later extended by additional two months, in response to the government’s apparent inability to answer their demands.
However, at a meeting with the Federal Government Renegotiation Group in his office, Ngige appealed with the committee to ensure that its work was completed.
The Minister also advised the leadership of ASUU to find a better way of pressurizing the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission, NUC, to hasten action on the implementation of agreements reached with the government rather than rushing to strike every time there was a disagreement.
According to Ngige, “I am not Minister of Education. I cannot go to the Education Minister and dictate to him how to run his place. But I told ASUU that you should be bombarding them at the Federal Ministry of Education for this to be moved forward.
“There are many ways to do so. If you go to the labour act, there is something called picketing. You can picket. The strike is an ultimate thing. Picketing means that you can stay in the corridor, clapping or singing. Workers are permitted to do so.
“But I am tired of every time there is a disagreement, it is a strike. And the bosses in the Federal Ministry of Education don’t feel the strike. It is the children and some of us parents that have our children in public schools.”
He added, “Why won’t I support if ASUU and their unions now want a renegotiation of their conditions of service, which is the main thing in the proposal by the previous Committee.”
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