For the third time in less than two months, talks between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities have ended in a stalemate.
For more than six hours on Wednesday, the federal government and the leadership of the university teachers were locked behind closed doors.
The resumed talks raised hopes of an end to the protracted industrial action that has shut down academic activities in the nation’s universities since March.
Both parties expressed confidence the interface would produce the desired result. But that was not to be.
For about six hours, heated arguments were heard behind closed doors with the ASUU representatives walking out one after the other.
Eventually, the meeting which began at about 4pm, ended a few minutes to 10pm with either party reluctantly to inform the press about the outcome of the meeting
A similar meeting had held two weeks earlier, in which the same scenario played out, with no meaningful conclusion.
Although, the government had made some offers to the striking teachers, including the release of N20 billion by January, 2021 for the revitalization of public universities and the setting up of Visitation panels to the schools, the major bone of contention remains the platform to be adopted for the payment of the teachers’ salaries and earned allowances.
While government says it is still putting the union’s payment system, the University Transparency Accounting System to test, it appeals to ASUU to have its members enrol on the IPPIS in the meantime to ensure the payment of all outstanding salaries.
But the union has stood its ground, insisting IPPIS cannot be suitable for the peculiarities of the university system.