Fresh Varsities Strike: SSANU, NASU issue 2-Weeks Ultimatum
Academic activities in Universities and Inter-University Centres in Nigeria may once again be put on a hold, following a disagreement between various unions over the sharing formula of the just-approved N22.127 billion for payment of earned allowances for the university staff.
Information made available to journalists in Abuja stated that out of the approved amount, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is to take a lion share of 75 per cent of the total sum, while the other three unions will share the remaining 25 per cent among themselves.
The three unions are the Non-academic staff union of Education and Associated Institutions, NASU, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT.
Recall that the last N40 billion Earned Allowances released by the Federal Government for the four Universities based unions where ASUU was also allocated 75 per cent of the total sum had generated a crisis in the university system.
Furthermore, a reliable source told Tribune Online that two of the unions, NASU and SSANU have rejected the sharing formula and warned the federal government to reverse it immediately in order not to cause an industrial dispute in the university system.
The two unions under the umbrella of the Joint Action Committee, JAC, have given the government two weeks to redress what they described as injustice meted out to them.
The source who is privy to the development told our reporter that JAC had written to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige to intervene in the looming but avoidable crisis in the universities.
Begged to be addressed under the condition of anonymity, the source said that the letter refusing the sharing formula that was sent to the Minister of Labour and Employment, who is the Conciliator-in-Chief of the country was copied to the Minister of Education and the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission, NUC.
The letter the source further revealed was signed by the General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi and the National President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammad Ibrahim.
The letter it was learnt was titled “Refusal of Federal Government to honour Memorandum of Action/”
The source said, “The leadership of the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU is constrained to write the Honourable Minister in respect of the total failure of the Federal Government to positively address all the issues contained in the Memorandum of Action signed on 25th February 2021 and the refusal of the Minister of Labour and Employment to finalise action on the subsequent Memorandum of Action reached at the meeting of 25th August 2021.
“It is regrettable to note that the draft of the Memorandum of Action reached on Thursday 25th August 2021 which was handed over to JAC leadership for vetting was effectively returned on Monday 30th August 2021 and almost two months after the meeting, no action has been taken.”
Some of the contentious issues in the letter were the Payment of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment arrears, alleged Inconsistencies in IPPIS payment, Payment of hazard responsibility allowance to deserving members and the
“Contrary to the content of the Memorandum of Action of 25th February 2021 and the decision reached at the subsequent meeting of 26th August 2021 the information at our disposal as of the time of writing this letter indicates that the Federal Government has agreed to release another tranche of N22.127 billion for the payment of Earned Allowance to the Universities and Inter-University Center Staff at the ratio 75-25 per cent.
“We are alarmed at this lack of sensitivity on the part of government when not long ago, Non-teaching staff protested the sharing formula applied by the Federal Government at 75-25 for the disbursement of the last tranche of N40 billion released for payment of Earned Allowances to both the teaching and non-teaching staff of our universities.
“To again embark on this provocative and unacceptable sharing formula in the next release will only ignite industrial disquiet in our university system. We urge the Honourable Minister to prevail on the Federal Government not to allow the present peaceful industrial atmosphere in the Universities and inter-university centres in our country to be disrupted.
“We, therefore, request for positive redress of the issues presented above by the Federal Government within the next two weeks, failing which JAC may be forced to ask its members across the length and breadth of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to take a position on the need to resume to the suspended strike.”