The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has denied that it reached an agreement with the federal government to suspend its ongoing strike on December 9, 2020.
The Union insisted that contrary to insinuation to that effect, there was never an understanding with the government that it would suspend the over nine months old strike on the said date.
President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in a statement made available to journalists Wednesday night, said ASUU representatives do not have the powers to suspend or call off industrial action but must follow due process which includes transmitting the outcome of negotiations to members and National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU for further deliberations and actions.
While noting that ASUU was willing to cooperate with concerned authorities to ensure suspension of the strike once the welfare and wellbeing of ASUU members and survival of public universities were sufficiently guaranteed, he said It was a needless crisis which had happened because the government consistently failed to implement the agreements it freely signed with the Union faithfully.
He said, “The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been inundated with enquiries on why the ongoing strike action has not been suspended.
“This was a sequel to the widely reported claims by some government agents that all the demands of ASUU have been met and that the Union agreed to suspend the strike action today, December 9 2020. Nothing can be farther from the truth!
“To put the records straight, the Principal Officers and Trustees who constitute the core of representatives of ASUU at negotiation meetings with the government are not constitutionally empowered to suspend any strike action. Whatever comes out of an engagement with agents of the government is an offer that must be taken back to the branches through the various organs of the Union.
“Views and perspectives on offers by governments are aggregated and presented to government agents as counter-offers. This trade union strategy of offer and counter-offer is continually deployed until the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU – consisting of all recognised chairpersons – finally approves what it considers an acceptable offer from the government. It is only then that any strike action by ASUU can be suspended.
“The ASUU leadership did not reach any understanding with the government to suspend the strike on December 9, 2020, and there is nothing in the government offer of November 27, 2020, to suggest that conclusion as allegedly claimed by the Minister of Labour and Employment.
“The leadership of ASUU has consistently stated at every meeting with high ranking government officials that the union’s representatives have no mandate to take the final decision on any strike action by the union.”