Tayo AFOLABI

 

Any proposed increase in allowances and salaries by the Academic Staff Union of Universities that is not in sync with the National Salaries and Wages Commission will not scale through.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige who stated this,also advised the union to work with what was obtainable with the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission and the Presidential Steering Committee on salaries and wages.

Recall that ASUU and the Federal Government had begun a series of negotiations aimed towards the suspension of the four-week strike declared by the union.

ASUU during its extraordinary National Executive Council meeting held at the University of Lagos on February 14,2022 had declared the action over what it claimed was the failure of the government to meet its lingering demands, including  earned allowances, release of revitalization funds for universities, increase in salary scale of lecturers, deployment of the UTAS payment platform for university workers, among others.

Following ASUU’s declaration, religious organizations, House of Representatives, Students bodies among others had called on the Federal Government to prevail on the union to end the strike.

The minister explained that one of ASUU’s major demands was centered on the increase in allowances and salaries.

According to Ngige, increment in salaries and allowances is a process that undergoes due process.

He said, “The demands were not new areas, but issues already being addressed by the Federal Government since last year.

“That is why I said we are shocked that they went on this strike. These issues were discussed November/ December last year up to the time we paid the monies for the Earned Academic Allowances. It was done last year. We paid N22.172 billion. So, they have received the money.

“The second area is renegotiation of the 2009 agreement. It talks about renegotiation of their conditions of service, both salaries and allowances. I made it clear to them that there is a government process. The Federal Ministry of Education alone cannot wake up and increase your salaries.

“There are known rates for allowances and any proposal not in sync with what the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission prescribed would not sail through.

“I made it clear to ASUU that they should follow the normal route and work with the NSIWC and PSC in pursuit of their demands.

“So, if you are talking about duty tour allowances for a lecturer in the university, who is also a public officer, it must not be above what is presently rolled out as the new guideline. If you are talking about hazard allowance, it must not be above what is obtainable for the university system.”

 

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