The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) yesterday suspended its seven months old strike for three months to allow the Federal Government look at their grievances.
The Union said it was suspending the strike with effect from Monday to allow negotiation with the government to continue.
The President of COEASU, Dr. Emmanuel Asagha told reporters in Abuja at the end of a meeting which lasted for twenty minutes with the Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau.
He said that the union decided to suspend the strike in other to give the new minister a chance to iron out the demands of the union.
Dr. Asagha said: “There are so many factors involved. We have fought a good fight and we have brought ourselves this far. The new minister has exhibited sincere commitment towards the resolution of the lingering issues. We believe that the way he has spoken, with utmost commitment with the fear of God, having emphasized that so seriously in his various speeches, we believe that the issues will be resolved in no time.
“As much as we are so sure, we still give some spaces for some errors here and there. We will be suspending the strike for a period of say three months. I would have said three months and seven days but we have removed the seven days so we are allowing it for three months. With effect from Monday next week.”
Dr Asagha said the union was trusting the government to resolve the issues before it, adding that a letter of agreement between the union and the government to that effect has been taken care off.
“The letter of agreement is been tidy up already. We will pick it up before we leave the ministry now. We are trusting that they will keep their own side of the agreement because a month, two months we will keep following up and in three months time we may have reasons to tell you if it is totally called off or otherwise,” he added
Earlier, the minister promised the union of government’s commitment to respond and resolve the issues raised by the union.
Shekarau urged the union to return to class to allow discussion between the government and the union to continue.
The minister said: “We have given them our assurances and they have given us their own assurances. The ministry has assured them that if they go back to class, which is the most important aspect of our job. You have heard me tell them that anything that we do in the ministry is about facilitating teaching and learning in the classroom. They have accepted it. We have promised them to quickly address all the outstanding issues.
“One fundamental thing, I gave them my word. None of their members will be victimized for having gone through this very painful experience of the strike. We understand why and how they found themselves in this position and we have agreed to collectively find a way out of it.
“Government will continue to address these issues. It is a continuous process. They have given us their word that they will go and review the situation within.”