The Federal Government and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) would meet next Thursday after the two unions must have taken resolutions from their branches nationwide in a renewed bid to end NASU’s strike action.
General Secretary, NASU, Peters Adeyemi, told The Guardian in Abuja, yesterday, that the strike started early today and would be sustained even during further negotiation with the government. “I can confirm to you that the positions taken in that circular to our branches remain the same. The strike is ongoing and would be sustained till resolutions are reached on all the issues in dispute. I can also confirm that both NASU and SSANU would be taking resolutions from their branches next Tuesday. The resolutions would form the core of what would be taken to the Thursday meeting with the Federal Government. The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of both groups are well organised. We lack the powers to take any decision on our own; the power lies in our branches. Whatever they decide would be collated and then that would be what we would take to the Thursday meeting.”
A circular dated February 3, this year, jointly signed by Adeyemi and SSANU President, Mohammed Ibrahim, directed the branches to convene joint general meetings yesterday to deliberate on the outcome of the meeting held with the Federal Government and also reaffirmed the commencement of the strike.
Though The Guardian did not get the outcome of the meetings at branch level, which took place across all federal universities in the country yesterday, the mood amongst the two unions is that the Federal Government has not shown enough commitment to wanting to halt the ongoing strike.
Specifically, the issues in contention are non-constitution of visitation panels for universities; non-payment of arrears of minimum wage; inconsistencies in IPPIS payment; non-payment of earned allowances; non-payment of retirement benefits to outgone members; neglect and poor funding of state universities; delay in renegotiation of FGN/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreements; teaching staff usurping of headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and established procedures.
On the visitation panel, government informed the unions that members of the panels have been constituted and inauguration shall be done immediately academic activities resume, while on the non-payment of arrears of minimum wage, the meeting was informed that officers of the Accountant General of the Federation have computed the arrears of minimum wage for all workers in tertiary institutions from April 2019 to January last year. It was also revealed that the amount has been captured and forwarded to the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation and is to be included in the supplementary budget to be presented to the National Assembly for approval and payment.
Upon this report, the unions noted the position was contrary to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed last year that the arrears would be paid within two weeks and there is no certainty when the payments would be made.
On the inconsistencies in IPPIS payment, though there was a proposal that a committee be set up to resolve the matter, the JAC of the two unions observed that such a step was belated, as such could have been done on October 20, last year, when an MoU was signed by both parties.
Issues of non-payment of earned allowances and retirement benefits to outgone members; neglect and poor funding of state universities, delay in renegotiation of FGN/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreements and teaching staff usurping of headship of non-teaching units, which is a clear violation of conditions of service and established procedures, are all slated for further discussion at the next week’s meeting.
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