By Ismaila Chafe
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has assigned Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to henceforth chair the concluding part of the ongoing negotiation between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
ASUU, an umbrella association of lecturers in the nation’s universities, is demanding the full implementation of the 2009 agreements reached with the federal government bordering on improvement in welfare and payment of backlog of salaries and entitlements, among other issues.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, confirmed this development while fielding questions from State House correspondents after the meeting of the FEC in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ngige stated that this was part of the council’s resolutions at the meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, his first meeting with all the members of the cabinet, since his return from medical vacation on Aug. 19.
“This is the first national strike that this government is facing and we want to discuss.
“At council today, the Vice President has taken over some of the aspects of the negotiations and discussions.
“So, we are continuing the meeting in his office and when we finish meeting, we will get back to ASUU for another round of meeting and we are hopeful that we will be able to go to an appreciable extent to solve some of the outstanding issues that is preventing them from going back to work,’’ he said.
On the national minimum wage committee, the minister stated that the federal government team was ready for the commencement of negotiation with the labour unions and other stakeholders.
He said already four ministers, Head of Service of the Federation and the acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation had been appointed to be part of the government team.
“The chairman will be unveiled when we have full component of the committee. The aspect that is delaying from inaugurating the committee is the organised private sector.
“The organised private sector has eight representatives of which Nigeria Employers Committee Assembly has four nominations and they have not sent their nominations.
“Manufacturers Association of Nigeria two nominations, their nominations just came in yesterday. Nigeria Association of Small Medium Enterprise one, they have not sent in their nomination.
“NACCIMA has not sent in their nominations. So we are waiting for these nominations, when they come in the government will nominate the chairman and inaugurate the committee,’’ he explained. (NAN)