The federal government will commence fresh negotiations with Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over its eight-month old strike.
The union has been on strike on March 9, this year to press for its exclusion from Integrated Personnel Payroll and Integrated System (IPPIS).
Answering questions from State House reporters after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said negotiations with the union was suspended following the outbreak of COVID-19.
According to him, ASUU had rejected suggestions for virtual meetings and insisted on physical negotiations.
The minister said the face-off between the federal government and ASUU over payment method, might not be immediately resolved because University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), as proposed by ASUU as an alternative to IPPIS, lacks the hardware that can make it operative.
However, he promised to communicate to ASUU the date for the resumption of meetings with the union this week while it awaits the report of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on UTAS’ software.
He said: “As you know, ASUU is on strike which they started since March 9, 2020 to be precise. We have held negotiation meetings. They opted out of the negotiation meetings during the COVID-19 period because they said they don’t want virtual meetings. So, we have just resumed our meeting.
“We have some grey areas to clear and we will meet sometime this week. I’m waiting for one or two reports before I communicate a date to them.
“The major report is the report from the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as per the system developed by ASUU which the government sent to them for integrity test.”