The federal government is set to commence fresh negotiations with Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over its eighth-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.
According to him, if the federal government eventually gives ASUU the nod to alternate IPPIS with UTAS, the union has no money to procure the required hardware for its implementation and this will pose another challenge to resolution of the crisis.