Again, the Federal Government and leadership of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria’s meeting ended in deadlock.
Investigation however revealed that useful progress was made at the marathon meeting held at the instance of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu, to resolve key areas of dispute.
It will be recalled that the teachers of the 104 Federal Government Colleges and workers at the Federal Ministry of Education (ASCSN) have been on strike for over three weeks due to unpaid salaries and allowances to the tune of N1.8 billion.
However, a source a the meeting told our reporter in Abuja, that the parties have agreed on the major issues in contention.
It was reliably gathered that agreement document was already being prepared ahead of the meeting to be held this morning (Friday) at the Federal Ministry of Labour for the parties to endorse.
Accordingly, the strike is likely to be suspended today (Friday) soon after the signing of the document.
Our source said, “What I can tell you now is that the meeting ended again today in deadlock. Though we have made useful progress. We have another meeting tomorrow (today) in the morning to trash out the remaining issues and possibly sign the document”.
The Federal Budget Office had released the sum of N527.6m to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the settlement of salary arrears and entitlements of staff of the Unity Schools.
But the ASCSN leadership has insisted that the payment of promotion arrears to its members in the Federal Ministry of Education Headquarters, the Inspectorate Offices and the unity colleges must be made before the strike is suspended.
As part of the agreement reached last Wednesday at a meeting with the Minister of Labour and Productivity, both parties to the dispute were to get the necessary mandate of their principals ahead of today meeting for the strike to be reviewed.
The workers are on strike over allowances that have accumulated over the years including outstanding promotion arrears for 2007-2010 and the balance of 2011; arrears of salaries to some staff for July, August, September, and October 2013; end-of-year incentives; non-payment of 1st 28 days in lieu of hotel accommodation; 2010 mandatory training; repatriation allowance; duty tour allowance to affected officers, among others.