Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said that the Federal Government has not reached a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The minister’s comments were contained in a statement by the Head of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Olajide Oshundun, on Wednesday.
According to the minister, even when such an agreement is produced between unions and the Federal Government, it is not the President that signs but “the government side” – Ministries Department and Agencies led by the direct employer with the conciliating ministry witnessing.
“This clarification has become necessary in view of the deluge of deliberate misinformation being dished out to Nigerians by the President of ASUU, Prof. Osodeke as well as his branch leaders, calling on President Buhari to sign an agreement which they claimed to have reached with the Federal Government,” the statement read.
“We wish therefore to inform Nigerians that there is no such Collective Bargaining Agreement(CBA) that has been reached between the Federal Government, ASUU and other university unions on the renegotiation of their salaries and allowances(wages). What is in existence is a proposal. Even when such CBA is made, it is not the President who signs it. From available records, no Nigerian President or sovereign signs such.”
ASUU had on February 14, embarked on industrial action, accusing the Federal Government of failing to meet its demands.
Some of the demands include the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the ASUU-FGN 2009 agreement, deployment of the University Transparency Accountability System for the payment of salaries and allowances of lecturers, and the release of the white paper report of the visitation panels to universities among others.
In denying the existence of collective bargaining agreement, Ngige said, “The true position is that Nigerians are aware that ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022, and locked in negotiations on their demand, especially of their conditions of service – wages, salaries, allowances and other public service matters, that should be guided by relevant Federal Government Ministries and agencies – Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Budget office of the Federation, National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, Office of Head of Service of the Federation, through the newly set up Prof. Nimi Briggs Committee.”