Nationwide strike looms as ASUU rejects FG’s re-negotiation team

The nation’s public universities may yet be thrown into industrial crises as Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Tuesday rejected the Federal Government re-negotiation team led by Dr. Wale Babalakin.

According to the Punch, the Union accused Babalakin of arrogance and elongating for fourteen months, a process that was meant to last for just six weeks without recording any progress.

ASUU said it had already written to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu to inform him about the ugly turn of events.

The National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, described Babalakin as a stumbling block in the renegotiation process, Punch reports.

He said, “Recall that in January 2017, the NEC meeting of ASUU held at Bayero University, Kano, welcomed the reconstitution of the government renegotiation team to enter into a renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU/FGN Agreement, which was long overdue.

“The renegotiation commenced in March 2017. At the inauguration of the committee, the Minister of Education declared that he expected the renegotiation to be completed within six weeks. Since then, for over 14 months, our union has had a series of negotiation meetings but it has been a fruitless exercise.

“The Chairman of the Government Renegotiating Team, Dr Wale Babalakin, has constituted himself into a stumbling block in the process of the renegotiation. He has arrogantly exhibited the I-know-it-all attitude and also conducted himself as a judge, instead of a negotiator.

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“With unwarranted arrogance, he has disregarded the cardinal principles of collective bargaining, deliberately slowed the process and made a mockery of the core tenets of industrial democracy. He has arrogated to himself the power to decide matters that should be collectively debated, analysed, and agreed upon by the two parties.

“He has also consistently attempted to substitute core constitutional provisions of Nigeria on education, including university education, by market principles of trading in and purchasing higher education, putting Nigerian children in debt in order to acquire higher education. This situation is not acceptable to the union.

“ASUU has tried through several entreaties to make him see reason and return to the path of collective bargaining and respect for the constitutional provisions on education to no avail. Since March 2017, a period of over fourteen (14) months, the discussion has hovered only on funding and Babalakin’s insistence that a tuition regime must be introduced into the public universities in Nigeria.”

The academic union also condemned in strong terms, the federal government’s failure to faithfully implement many items on the 2017 MoA.

The National Executive Committee of the union resolved to update their members on the two developments and meet in due course to consider the next line of action.

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