Gbajabiamila did not promise payment of salary arrears – Reps reply ASUU

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The House of Representatives has reacted to the allegation made by the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Emmanuel Osodeke, that the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, deceived the union to call off the strike.

A statement issued on Wednesday by the spokesperson of the House, Ben Kalu, said the speaker never promised the lecturers payment of arrears.

Recall that the intervention by the House had led to the call-off of the eight-month strike by the lecturers.

Also, the National Industrial Court had mandated ASUU to suspend the strike, while the government also insisted on the no-work-no-pay policy.

However, speaking on Tuesday, Osodeke had alleged that Gbajabiamila failed to keep to the agreement reached with the union.

Responding to the allegation, Kalu said at “no point did the Speaker of the House of Representatives commit to offset the arrears of salaries owed to union members for the time they were on strike.”

He further said the commitments by the House are reflected in the 2023 Appropriation Bill, which includes N170 billion to provide a level of increment in the welfare package of university lecturers and an additional N300 billion in revitalisation funds.

Kalu, therefore, accused Osodeke of “bad-faith approach to negotiations”, adding that “his affinity for political brinkmanship are significant reasons the universities were on strike for so long.”

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