There are very strong indications that the lecturers of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are “warming up” for another round of industrial action as the countdown to the deadline for the implementation of agreements reached with the federal government – which led to the conditional suspension of its indefinite strike action in September – draws near.
In September, the federal government had signed an agreement with the leadership of the union, as a result of the strike action embarked upon by the union to press the implementation of the memorandum of understanding entered into between both parties in 2013 as well as the 2009 agreement.
During the signing of the agreement, a timeline of October 2017 was reached between both parties for the implementation of some components of the agreement, especially the payment of shortfall in salaries and Earned Academic Allowances.
However, with less than a week to the end of the October timeline, some lecturers have told The Nation that the government has not implemented any aspect of the agreement, even when they claimed during negotiation that implementation has commenced.
A lecturer said: “The government has not done anything. We have not heard from them and it is just one week to the end of the October deadline. I can assure you that we are warming up and there is the possibility that from November 1, we will resume the suspended action.”
“They (government) told our leaders during negotiations that they have prepared everything for the implementation. They were even brandishing some papers, especially on the earned Academic Allowance. But we have not seen anything nor heard from them.”
“They were also supposed to carry our verification because of those who employed workers without permission so that the issue of shortfall in salary can be addressed. Many of us have been verified, but nothing has happened. We have not been paid. They should not take us die a ride because when we resume the suspension action not are not going to listen to any discussion.”
On his part, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, refused to divulge whether or not the union will call out its members at the end of October if they are not satisfied with the level of implementation of the agreement.
He told the news outlet that: “We are engaging them and we are making some few progress and we hope they will keep their promise. Otherwise, our members are ready to activate their action. We are still in October, but we are on our guard.
“We believe they will follow the process through and implement it fully. That is why we still engage them and we are talking. We are working with them and we hope they will continue to cooperate.”
Asked whether they will embark on any Industrial action at the end of October, he said:
“I cannot say whether there will be any action at the end of October or not. It is what our members say that we shall do. I hope I am very clear? Our members shall determine what we shall do at the end of the deadline based on the level, of implementation”.