The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has reiterated that the Federal Government has no plans to rescind the no work- no pay rule put in place as a penalty for the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
This came after a representative of the Education Ministry revealed that there has been an appeal for the government to consider going back on the policy or reaching a compromise concerning it.
“The Federal Government is not rescinding the no work- no pay decision. The Federal Government has taken the decision that it will not pay whoever goes on strike. If they call the strike off today, they will be losing 7 months of pay,” Adamu said.
When asked if he thought the government’s decision would not worsen the government’s ongoing negations with the lecturers, he said he believed it would be good news to them.
“I’m sure this will be very good news to the lecturers and I think it will serve as motivation to bring them back to the classrooms”, he said.
According to the minister, Nigerians ought to commend the Federal Government for their intervention in the ongoing strike and that citizens could only blame the FG instead of ASUU if it had not done what it was meant to do to end the strike.
“Nigerians should also blame ASUU members and not only the federal government for this prolonged strike.
“Nigerians should have pushed all the blame to the federal government if they had failed to do what they are supposed to do. But in this case, the federal government has done very well and should be commended for the approach so far,” he said.
Adamu added that the government has made the best possible offer to the striking union, emphasizing that no government can meet the demands of any union 100%.
We can’t do better than our best. Any Nigerian who is disappointed in government’s way of handling the issue is probably not informed adequately of the efforts so far. We have made the best offer to satisfy ASUU demands, and you should know that there’s no demand of any union in the world that can be met 100 percent by any government,” he said.
Adamu went on the provide some detail on the offer made by the FG to the union with regards to the proposed salary increment and the payment platform to be used, in a bid to end the strike.
“The agreement we reached or the position of the government that I offered is something government can pay if they say they will agree. There is an increase in salary for university staff, 23.5% for all categories of the workforce in Federal Universities and 35% for professors. The same applies to Polytechnics and Colleges of education. There is another 150 billion for rehabilitation and for earned allowances.
“There is also the issue of the platform to be used for payment of salaries, the president is now waiting for the report of the technical committee set up to look into the three platforms but from what I have seen, the U3PS is probably the best followed by UTAS and then IPPIS. The acceptance of any of the platforms will depend on the report given to the president,” he said.
The minister explained that the new salary package would be reflected in the 2023 budget and as such, would not be paid immediately.
“The new salary will be in the 2023 budget. It has been captured there which means it won’t be paid immediately.
“The increment is based on the government decision to increase salary. The best idea for any salary increment is to tie it to inflation and for a very long time, there has not been any review and the crisis now probably triggered the government to start with the university people and probably when the economy improves, it will be done across all sectors,” he said.
He added that it is not bad for Nigerians to seek education abroad but that the onus is on Nigerian varsities to work harder in order to attract foreign students.
“Our people going out to study is not a bad thing. The only thing is that our own universities in Nigeria should work hard to attract foreign students and lecturers so that instead of money going out, money should come in. Nigerian education is not as bad as the pictures being painted but it can be better.
ASUU President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke stated that the union would not be moved by the ‘no-work, no pay’ threat issued by the Federal Government through the Minister of Education.
“Knowing the pedigree of that Minister, I was surprised by what he was saying. Did ASUU go on strike because of no-work-no pay? We went on strike on a number of issues and none of them have been resolved and he’s talking about no work-no pay, threatening the workers. Do you resolve normal problems in Academics by the use of threats? You’re supposed to come to the table and negotiate. You don’t use blackmail to solve the problem,” he said.