Akwa Ibom varsity lecturers suspend strike

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Akwa Ibom State University chapter on Tuesday agreed to conditionally suspend its one-day strike.

The Union on Sunday called out its members to an indefinite strike over alleged payment of salaries on a percentage basis for 11 months and lack of payment of promotion benefits.

But speaking with our correspondent in Uyo on Tuesday Mr. Ime Okop, one of the chairpersons of ASUU in the institution said the Congress had resolved to conditionally suspend the strike pending when members start getting alerts of payment.

“Government officials called me for a meeting yesterday (Monday) at 9 pm, which did not give me time to go home and meet with my Congress members.

“Because it’s government and they didn’t tell me what they were going to do, I decided to go there. So, when I went they brought out the script that the government wanted them to do; they spoke and we decided.

“We had a Congress this morning and I am just finishing from that congress and we told the congress that the best thing is to suspend the strike conditionally until we get alerts of payments.

“We have unlocked the gate today and everybody can go to work. But it will be effective when we have our alerts according to what we signed with the state government,” Okop said.

Meanwhile, the state government had agreed to make immediate payment of three out of eleven months backlog of 25% salary arrears to the workers at the institution.

The agreement was contained in the resolution issued at a meeting between officials of the government, management of the university, and labour unions on Monday in Uyo the state capital.

The state government was represented at the meeting by the Chief of staff to Governor, Mr Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, the Head of Civil Service, Effiong Essien, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Nse Essien, while the labour unions were led by the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Sunny James.

According to the resolution which was signed by representatives of the government and officials of the unions, the outstanding arrears of eight months would be paid subsequently in batches of three months each.

Other resolutions include full payment of salary from January 2021 as well as the constitution of a visitation panel to resolve all outstanding issues in the University by the visitor to the University.

The State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Sunny James, who spoke with newsmen on the issue said the government had agreed to pay ASUU workers 75 percent of their salary from January to December 2020 except the month of March where they received the full minimum wage.

James, who was part of the meeting, said the government would commence the process of payment of the new minimum wage in full from January 2021 and the arrears of the 25 per cent outstanding for the 11 months would be paid in batches

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