…as Minister defends half-pay

ASUU resumes quarrel with government as minister defends October half-pay, raising prospects of renewed bickering that disrupts university academic calendar.

ASUU’s eight-month long strike ended in October and disrupted university admissions to federal public schools for two sessions.

In some schools, students admitted for the 2021 session are still at home as authorities process the 2022 batch of admissions.

Education Minister Adamu Adamu yesterday defended government’s decision to pay university teachers pro-rata for October 2022.

The law constrains Government to pay teachers only for the periods they worked, he said.

The minister’s statement confirmed claims by ASUU that members received half-pay for October 2022.

The ASUU leadership regretted the government’s action because it made them look like “casual labour.”

ASUU president, Prof Emmanuel Osodoke, alleged that government seeks to convert university teaching to non-tenure employment,

Consequently, the union directed its members to observe a “work-free day” to protest the decision.

The Education Minister however rejected the insinuation yesterday.

“The strike has been called off and the government has paid them what is due to them.

“I think the position of the government is not to pay anyone for work not done.

“How can anybody make a university lecturer a casual… Do you know the meaning of casual worker?

“If you know the meaning, it is impossible to make a university lecturer a casual worker.”

The Minister also said government didn’t see its action as a problem. He was also not aware that ASUU ordered its members to observe a “work-free day” in protest.

“I’m not aware. Am I 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.”

Parents and students are apprehensive that this may drag into another round of muscle-flexing between government and ASUU.

Students returned to school last month October following ASUU’s eight-month long strike to press for better conditions of service.

The teachers sustained the strike between 14 February and 14 October 2022 before calling it off, following a court ruling.

An Industrial Court ordered ASUU members to return to the classroom as a condition to hear its case.