The simmering wrangle between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the federal government climaxed yesterday, as the leadership of the union declared an indefinite industrial action.
Both parties have locked horns over the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System and the non-implementation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement.
ASUU had on Monday, March 9, 2020, declared a two-week warning strike following the resolution taken at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, which held at the Enugu State University (ESUT), Enugu.
The union leaders had accused the federal government of failing to implement the contents of the memorandum of action (MoA) that was signed last year by both sides.
The National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, announced the indefinite strike at a press briefing at its National Secretariat, Abuja, amidst closure of public tertiary institutions in the country for a month by the government over the spread of COVID-19.
Prof. Ogunyemi said the union took the decision after an emergency NEC meeting last Saturday in Abuja where it reviewed the new proposals made by the government team.
He noted that the federal government, after two consultative meetings with its team led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had failed to address the issues highlighted by the union.
“Based on the review of the reports from ASUU leadership’s engagements with the government, NEC concluded that the government had failed to satisfactorily address the outstanding issues raised in the FGN-ASUU 2019 MoA and ignored the objections of ASUU against IPPIS.
“Consequently, NEC resolved to embark on a total, comprehensive and indefinite strike action beginning from Monday, March 23, 2020 until the issues are satisfactorily resolved.
“ASUU rejects the application of force on our members to join IPPIS irrespective of the patriotic evidence shown by the union to offer a more credible alternative to IPPIS,” the ASUU President explained.
He stressed that even though the government has told ASUU that it now accepts the union’s proposal on its payroll model, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), it saw its appeal to join IPPIS as a booby trap.
“Government has told ASUU that it now accepts the union’s proposal on UTAS with the given timelines for full development: one, software development, six months; two, alpha testing, three months; three, beta testing, six months; four, stable release, three months.
“However, the appeal of the government to encourage ASUU members enroll on IPPIS within the intervening period before the full development of UTAS was rejected as a booby trap,” Ogunyemi added.