The dialogue between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, over the ongoing strike has going messier, after the Federal Government yesterday introduced the implementation of "No work, no pay policy".
The universities lecturers who had vowed never to return to work until demands are met, described the policy of no work, no pay as a threat that could hold no water.
Lecturers who spoke to Vanguard posited that the policy was not new to ASUU, adding that it would further emboldened the Union because it had passed through that route before.
Reacting to the development, the Director, Distance Learning Centre, University of Ibadan, Professor Oyesoji Aremu said: "ASUU as a Union has passed this route before, so it is not anything strange to its struggle. " As a matter of fact, it has always emboldened the Union.
"I think the Federal Government should have gone pass this threat of 'No Work no Pay' to workers while on strike. The question is, is strike not a legitimate instrument on the part of the workers? "And on the ASUU's struggle, while is the government not addressing the issues? While is the government not sincere enough to address the agreement freely entered to and signed with the Union? "It is about time the Federal Government through its Team understands some principles in collective bargaining with a view to addressing the challenges confronting the university system in Nigeria. The rottenness in the education sector must be halted."
On his part, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and the Pioneer Director of the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies UI, Prof Isaac Olawale Albert said: "It is not good for a person who doesn't work to be paid. "However, ASUU has no other way of getting this regime, like the past ones, to respect agreements. Our primary and secondary schools collapsed because there was no strong movement such as ASUU to save it. ASUU is altruistic. It is doing whatever it is doing now to protect the credibility of Nigeria's education."
Speaking in the same vein, Professor Ayodeji Olukoju, University Distinguished Professor, UNILAG said: "No work, no pay" is inapplicable to academic staff.
"We still do the backlog of work (teaching & marking, etc.) even after the strike is over. To enforce the rule and expect the gap to be covered will be most unjust. Besides, it will do irreparable damage to industrial relations in the higher education sector."
For the Vice Chancellor of Caleb University, Professor Ayandiji Daniel Aina, suggest that both ASUU and government should exercise caution.
He said: " While ASUU should reconsider the industrial action in the interest of the students and quality education, the government should discuss with them further. Maintaining extreme positions by both parties is counter productive."
Meanwhile, ASUU-Lagos zonal chairman, Professor Olusiji Sowande, while reacting to the "No work no pay" said: "The no work no pay policy is not for ASUU because ASUU does more than teaching job. "We engage in research and other academic activities."
According to him, the Federal Government should have known that this government is not the first to introduce the policy of No work no pay and none had ever worked, adding, "It may work for lecturers who are suffering, but not us.
"I see it as a threat to our agitation for better funding for our education sector. The new policy will further prolong the ongoing strike. Asked when is their next meeting with the government, he said: "Anytime they are ready, we are ready."
You will recall that ASUU commenced the strike November 5 over Federal Government failure to honour its 2009 agreements. Since the commencement of the ongoing strike, FG and ASUU had met three-time without a resolution. Presently, there is no specific date for another meeting.