The Nigerian government has listed key demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that it has met.
The demands by the union had resulted in years of incessant strikes, leading to the shutdown of Nigerian public universities for months at various times.
The Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, a professor, on Thursday listed some of the demands of the union that have been met by the President Bola Tinubu’s government.
During its last industrial action that lasted eight months in 2022, the largest academic staff union in the country, ASUU, listed some of its major demands to include autonomy for public universities, increased funding, payment of owed academic allowances and increased pay for its members.
The former administration of Muhammadu Buhari invoked a No-Work-No-Pay policy during the strike embarked upon by at least three workers’ unions in the universities, and stuck to it till the end of his tenure.
The striking unions were the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), among others.
When ASUU refused to suspend its strike when other unions did, Mr Buhari’s government sued ASUU in court, which ordered the union to suspend its industrial action that was already in its eighth month.
However, speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, Mr Mamman said the federal government has increased the salaries of workers in the public tertiary institutions by 35 per cent.
This is in addition to the payment of four of the eight months withheld salaries of some of the workers during an industrial action last year as directed by Mr Tinubu.
Mr Mamman added that the government has also granted autonomy to the universities by removing them from the Integrated Payment and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), and the granting of autonomy to recruit staff.
The education minister said the Tinubu administration is committed to addressing issues leading to intermittent disruptions in academic activities in public tertiary institutions.
He said the resolutions reached so far were achieved through informal consultations with the unions based in the tertiary institutions.
”No Nigerian would be happy with the epileptic delivery of academic activities in our tertiary institutions occasioned by long-unresolved agreements,” he said.
“Under the guidance of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, we engaged in informal consultations with the tertiary institutions-based unions and have begun to build trust as exemplified by the resolution of (a) 35 per cent increase in salaries of workers in our tertiary institutions; (b) 4 months payment of salaries for the 8 months they were on strike in 2022; (c) Removal from the Integrated Payment and Payroll Information System; (d) Granting autonomy for recruitment.”
The education minister also assured Nigerians and the unions that his ministry would collaborate with the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to ensure the implementation of the announced resolutions.
Speaking further, Mr Mamman said the policies to address the pervasive issue of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions are underway to provide a safe learning environment.