Any proposed rise in allowances and salary by the Academic Staff Union of Universities that is not in line with the National Salaries and Wages Commission will not scale through, according to Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.
The minister also encouraged the union to engage with the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission and the Presidential Steering Committee on salaries and wages to achieve the best possible results.
According to the Saturday PUNCH, ASUU and the Federal Government have commenced a round of conversations aimed at ending the union’s four-week strike.
The action was declared by ASUU during an extraordinary National Executive Council meeting held at the University of Lagos on February 14, 2022, in response to what it claimed was the government’s failure to meet its lingering demands, which included earned allowances, the release of university revitalization funds, an increase in lecturers’ salary scale, and the deployment of the UTAS payment platform for university workers, among others.
Following ASUU’s announcement, religious organizations, the House of Representatives, and student organizations, among others, urged the federal government to persuade the union to call off the strike.
In an interview with Saturday PUNCH, Ngige said that one of ASUU’s main requests was for higher allowances and pay.
Increases in salary and allowances, according to the minister, are a process that is subject to due process.
“The requests were not new areas,” he continued, “but concerns that the Federal Government has been addressing since last year.”
That’s why I said we’re surprised they’ve gone on strike. These topics were discussed in November/December of last year, up until we paid the Earned Academic Allowances funds. It was completed the previous year. We paid a total of N22.172 billion. As a result, they have gotten the funds.
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“The renegotiation of the 2009 accord is the second area. It discusses renegotiation of their service terms, including pay and allowances. I explained to them that there is a government mechanism in place. The Federal Ministry of Education, on its own, will not be able to raise your wages.
“Allotment rates are known, and any suggestion that is not in line with the National Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission’s recommendations would be rejected.”
“I told ASUU that they should go the traditional approach and engage with the NSIWC and PSC to achieve their goals.”
“So, if you’re talking about duty tour allowances for a university lecturer who also happens to be a public officer, it can’t be more than what’s now being handed out as the new standard.” If you’re talking about hazard allowance, it can’t be more than what the university system can afford.”
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