Why I Should Not Be Blamed For ASUU Strike –Chris Ngige Reveals Details

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Why I Should Not Be Blamed For ASUU Strike –Chris Ngige Reveals Details

The minister for Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has exonerated himself from the incessant industrial strike action of the Academic Union of Universities (ASUU).

Formally declaring to contest for the 2023 presidential position, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Alor, Idemili South local government area of Anambra State on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, Ngige said the information that he is to be blamed for the strikes by labour unions is false.

He maintained that the Federal government of Nigeria is not owing ASUU salaries rather, they are clamoring for academic and earned allowances piled up from previous administration.

All Facts Newspaper had reported that Chris Ngige advised ASUU to resolve to channeling their grievances to the Federal ministry of Education, occupy the corridors of the ministry, singing and clapping instead of embarking on strike. READ HERE

Addressing a crowd of supporters on Tuesday, Ngige noted that he is not the employer of members of the union, however, he performs his own duty of conciliation, arbitration and persuasion to ensure that the issues are resolved.

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Ngige said;

Some persons have been feeding the public with wrong information that my office is to blame for the incessant strikes by labour unions,”

“In the case of the university unions, it is important to make it clear that the Federal Government is not owing them salaries and wages rather, what is being owed is a carry-over of allowances (Earned Academic Allowances/Earned Allowances) from the past administration and that the carry-over is being paid in installment, under a negotiated agreement. In one or two occasions that government defaulted for lack of revenue to pay, it was properly rescheduled.

“Unfortunately, detractors have told unions that Ngige is their problem. How can the Minister of Labour be their problem when he is not their employer? The Minister of Labour is neither a member of the Governing Council of universities nor the Minister of Education or Finance. The same goes for health workers and doctors. The government side and the fixers of salaries and wages met with them and told them what they are able to pay, which is an ILO principle of Negotiation – Capacity and ability to pay. Instead of following up with negotiations, they would turn around to blame the Minister.

“For example ASUU invented a payment platform, called UTAS . UTAS has been subjected to necessary tests by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) which said it cannot recommend the system for use, having passed User Acceptability test, but failed Integrity and Credibility test.  ASUU said Ngige can do the magic, to force NITDA to clear UTAS  and also force the Ministry of Finance to deploy it. This magic is beyond me.   They ascribed the powers I don’t have to my office.

“However, conciliation and arbitration is within the ambit of my Ministry and we are doing whatever we can , including persuasion, and subtly moving into other ministries, to try to pressure them, in order to resolve some of the issues. I’m a concerned parent whose children are also in the public universities in Nigeria. In the Seventh Senate , I championed the cause of labour. How then can I turn around to stop  the progress of these institutions? God forbid!”

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