MINISTER of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has disclosed that the federal government did not promise to pay members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU before they would go back to work.
Ngige was reacting to a statement by the ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, that the federal government failed to deliver on the timelines on offers made to the union and that lecturers would not resume work until their salary arrears are paid.
Ngige, in a statement, said, “it is false and discomfiting” for ASUU to wrongly inform the public that the government agreed to pay all withheld salaries before they would resume work.
He said on the part of the government, all timelines have been complied with and “faithfully implemented”, noting that ASUU had agreed at the last meeting with the government’s team on November 27 to call off their nine-month-old strike before December 9.
“The truth of the matter is that a ‘gentleman agreement’ was reached at the last meeting in which ASUU agreed to call off the strike before December 9 and the minister, in turn, agreed that once the strike is called off, he would get a presidential waiver for ASUU to be paid the remainder of their salaries on or before December 9.
“The minister of labor and employment informed that he had consulted with the minister of education on getting a waiver on the issue of ‘No Work, No Pay’ as stipulated in Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, Cap. T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria LFN), 2004, but a reservation has been made concerning this request because of the ongoing strike by ASUU. The minister, therefore, agreed to work on this to be actualized before Wednesday, December 9,” he said.
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