Nigeria: Strike looms as varsity teachers deny N15.9bn payment by FG as Labour gears for strike
After a short period of truce, Labour unions in Nigeria may go on strike again. The Federal Government said it will meet with Organised Labour to prevent the threat of national industrial action over non-transmission of the New National Minimum Wage bill to the National Assembly.
Also, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it has not been briefed on the alleged payment of N15.9 billion to universities by the federal government, two months after it embarked on strike.
The union’s National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
The unionist was reacting to reports that the federal government had on December 31, 2018, released N15.9 billion to universities.
The report stated that the fund was for the payment of shortfall in salaries of universities.
The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC had threatened to embark on a nationwide strike on January 8.
Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, in a statement signed by Mr Samuel Olowookere, the Director of Press in the ministry, on Wednesday in Abuja said government will meet with Labour on Friday
According to statement, the meeting is to nip in the bud threat of national industrial action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over the transmission of the New National Minimum Wage to the National Assembly.
“The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, is scheduled to hold a meeting with the Executives of the Organised Labour Union on Jan. 4, at the Minister’s Conference Room by 10:30 am prompt.
The threat was to make the Federal Government to send the tripartite committee’s report on N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly.
The organised labour gave the ultimatum following President Muhammadu Buhari’s proposal to set up another committee to scrutinise the tripartite committee’s recommendation.
A statement attributed to Buhari had indicated that a “high powered technical committee” would be set up to devise ways to ensure that its implementation did not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing.
ASUU said: “Well someone actually drew my attention to that newspaper report. I have not received any formal letter from federal government, conveying such information to us.
“The only information I got from the Minister of Labour this afternoon when we spoke was that they have done something concerning our demands; what they have done, I do not know.
“The other thing he told me was that there is going to be a meeting between us (ASUU) and government on Monday.
“It is only when we get to the meeting that we will be able to know what government has done and if it is okay by us, then we will convey same to our members who will now take the next line of action,” he said.
The union on November 4, 2018, embarked on what they had described as ‘comprehensive, total and indefinite nationwide strike’ to press home their demands.
The striking lecturers are protesting against alleged non-implementation of agreements they entered into with the federal government in 2013 and 2017.
hey are also protesting the poor welfare, poor funding, and general decay in education infrastructure, among others.
Since the commencement of the strike, members of the union have met with the federal government six times, to find a way forward to the issues, all ending in a deadlock.