The Federal Government has faulted the ultimatum issued by the National Labour Congress, NLC, over the strike embarked upon by the the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU and other sister unions.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige who spoke on behalf of the government stated this on Thursday in Abuja.
The minister also appealed to ASUU to sheath their sword and return to class
Recall that NLC had called on the Federal Government to set up a High-Powered Panel to deal with industrial disharmony in Nigeria’s university system.
The labour union said the panel should be made up of members with requisite mandates to resolve within 21 days the foregoing issues affecting industrial harmony in Nigeria’s university system.
But the minister faulted the demand by the NLC, saying the Federal Government had already put in place it own high-powered team, comprising his Chief of Staff, the Ministers of Labour, Education, Finance, Communication and Digital Economy.
He said the Federal Government cannot pay 200 per cent rise in emoluments of university workers proposed by the former renegotiation committee headed by Prof. Jubril Munzali.
Ngige said, “There is no point giving you percentages on paper that nobody can pay. Munzali worked out a percentage that placed the university workers on about 200 per cent pay rise. The Federal Government through the Education Ministry said they cannot pay. The Ministry of Finance said they cannot pay. They came to me and I said nothing is wrong with renegotiation because even if a Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed, it could be renegotiated.
“The document produced by Munzali was not signed by both ASUU and the Federal Government. It is a proposal. Manzali’s committee had elapsed. The Education Ministry didn’t act as I wanted. The Minister was away but his lieutenants didn’t do anything for five months, contrary to my expectations. The minister has set up another committee headed by Prof. Nimi Briggs. They have been working and I have given them six weeks to come up with a proposal.”