The face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government over payment of half salary to the academic staff may have assumed another dimension as Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu insists that the ‘no work no pay’ policy was being applied.
He said the Federal Government cannot pay for work not done, directly justifying the pro rata payment effected by the government to ASUU members recently.
Adamu’s reaction came after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, at the Presidential Villa Abuja, even as the academic staff boycotted lectures on Tuesday, nationwide in protest of the decision.
Reporters covering the presidency had asked the Minister if he was aware of an allegation from ASUU that the government was planning to casualise their appointment with the pro-rata payment. A development that has elicited a boycott of lectures in universities.
Adamu casually responded saying, “the strike has been called off and the government has paid them what is due to them. I think that’s the position of the government; we are not going to pay anyone for work not done and they only did, I think, the number of days that they were paid.
“How can anybody make a university lecturer a casual… Do you know the meaning of casual worker? If you know the meaning of casual worker, it is impossible to make a university lecturer a casual worker”.
Asked if the federal government would be willing to take steps to assuage the ASUU and stave off further hostilities, the Minister said “I don’t understand, is there any problem now?”.
Told they planned a work-free-day, and he said “Oh? Okay, I’m not aware. I’m not aware. That they are going on strike? No, nobody has told me.
“So let’s wait till the work-free day comes, then I’ll find out the details and we’ll discuss, you can ask me then, but at the moment, I’m telling you honestly, I do not know that there is a problem”, he said.
Asked to shed light on the claim by the President of the ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodoke, that the union only had an agreement with the Minister of Education and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, not with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Adamu said “I cannot add any light on something that I did not know.
“And since they said they have no business with the Minister of … Did they show you the agreement? Well, I’m not aware that there’s any agreement between us”, he said.
Recall that ASUU’s President, Prof. Emmanuel Osokode had stated that he had no business with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, rather the Union had a pact with the Minister of Education and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajiabiamila.
ASUU had suspended its eight monthly old strikes after the National Industrial Court and Appeal Court compelled them to return to classrooms.
But the Executive members of ASUU insisted it yielded to the directive because of the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajiabiamila.Since the half-salary crisis broke out, the National Assembly has been trying to broker a new deal, including a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to offset the salary fully.
Beyond this, there are works on the wheel to convene a stakeholders summit that would put a stop to strikes by public tertiary institutions in Nigeria.[carousel_slide id='8496']