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STRIKE: Nigerian govt to resume talks with ASUU next week

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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said on Friday the Federal Government would resume negotiation with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) next week in a bid to end the ongoing strike by the union.

The minister, according to a statement issued by spokesperson, Patience Onuobia, disclosed this in his opening remark at a meeting with the striking National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) in Abuja.

He reaffirmed the federal government’s readiness to settle the striking lecturers very soon.

ASUU embarked on a 30-day warning strike on February 14 over the government’s refusal to honour the agreement signed by both parties.

The union extended the strike by another two months on March 14 after the government failed to meet its demands.

Some of ASUU’s demands include improved funding of the universities and the adoption of the Universities Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a payment platform, among others.

Ngige said: “As a conciliator, I manage you people in measured steps. That is why I want to take all of you holistically and I ask for your cooperation. When I finish with you today, I will continue with ASUU next week.

READ ALSO: STRIKE: ASUU making negotiation difficult – Ngige

“I met with NASU and SSANU yesterday and they were happy. I want you people to be happy as we leave here.”

The minister blamed the strike on economic reasons and urged the union to embrace open-door policy in order to avert incessant strikes in the education sector.

He added: “If you are from any union, you don’t need to book an appointment to see me. The doctors started using that advantage, and JOHESU also did the same. That is why the health sector is quiet. But the education unions don’t take advantage of my open-door policy.

“We don’t have to cry over spilt milk. Let us look at your issues to see the ones we can handle immediately, the ones we can do in the medium term and the ones we can do in the long term. There are certain ones that are over and above me, that are not in my hands to do.

“My job is to prepare an agreement after conciliation on what you have agreed with your employers, the Federal Ministry of Education, put timelines and monitor them, to see whether the results will be there.”

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