- Â Insists on implementation of 2009 agreement
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (NASU) has alleged that they were schemed out of the N23 billion allowance released by the the federal government last year in favour of the sister union.
The Chairman of Joint Action Committee (JAC) of NASU, Samson Ugwoke, disclosed this thursday at a mega rally organised by the non-teaching staff to express their grievances.
Ugwoke also said JAC, which comprises NASU, Senior Staff Academic of Nigerian Universities(SSANU) National Association of Academic Technologists, (NAAT), called on the federal government to ensure full proper implementation of the 2009 agreement
The aggrieved workers were with placards with inscriptions such as â€˜Government must respect agreementâ€™, â€˜Government must respect court orderâ€™, and â€˜Impunity breeds anarchy, stop in it our universitiesâ€™â€™, among others.
He said that the continuous reneging of the 2009 agreement and other Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) entered with the unions was long overdue and affecting the effective running of the university system.
According to him, the unions have had several meetings with the federal government with no tangible results.
Ugwoke said it was imperative that they drew the attention of the government to the on ongoing strike action embarked upon by the non-teaching staff unions based on their demands for the full proper implementation of our 2009 agreement.
He said: â€œThe specific issues are the reinstatement of our members in the university staff schools, who were removed from the budget of the universities bases on obnoxious budget call circular from National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.
â€œThis is in gross contravention of the 2009 agreement with federal government and we have gone to the National Industrial Court that has also ruled in our favour.â€
â€œAlso, the issue of payment of earned allowance where a sum of N23 billion was released by government in Sept 2017, was skewed in favour of a sister union by some government officers.
There by leaving 11 per cent of the said amount to the non-teaching staff. We also have the issue of shortfalls in salary payment.â€
â€œThis have made our members to be receiving fractions of their salaries for upward of a year now,â€ he added.
The JAC chairman also noted the issue of career progression for Technologists to CONTISS 14 and 15, in line with the agreement reached with NAAT.
He also noted usurpation of non-teaching career positions by academic staff and corruption in the universities system.
Ugwoke said that JAC had further signed two difference MoUs with federal government through the Minister of Labour yet to no avail. Nothing tangible was on ground except verbal assurances.
He however, decried why a segment of university system was being favour to the non-academic staff unions.
â€œSo, the rally is to let you know why we are sad and also to sensitise you also on the injustices that is going on the universities system.
We need to let you know the plight of the Nigerian universities and also workers in the system. We want you to come in and investigate the universities and find out why our graduates are not employable.
â€œWe are not pleased the state of affairs and strongly believe that with your intervention all matters that led to the current industrial action of the Joint Action Committee unions shall be address,â€ he added.
Also speaking, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, said the protest has become necessary as federal government kept reneging on its promises.
Wabba said that the university system was facing a lot of challenges such as corruption, injustice, among others.
â€œSo, the strike must continue until justices is done because the sector needed more attention as they have not been able to receive the desired attention it deserved.
â€œWe must do everything possible for this sector to achieve the desired results. It must be a priority of government and all stakeholders as it involves national development,â€ he said.
Responding, the Director Tertiary Education in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Joel Ojo, said the ministry was doing all to ensure that the issues affecting the university system was resolved immediately.
Ojo said the ministry was interfacing with the National Assembly and modalities have been put in place to resolved the ongoing strike and make sure normalcy returned back to the universities.
â€œI want to assure you that the federal government is committed and I want to plead with you to give us some time, â€˜â€™he said.
Also, Bukar Abba-Ibrahim, who represent the Senate President, Bukola Saraki that the challenges affecting the workers have being noted.
â€œSo I want to assure you that we are going to fight corruption in the universities squally.
â€œI also want to assure every worker will get its allowances, among other demands that you have made will be tabled before the house, â€˜â€™he added.
Also, Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central, assured the workers that the national Assembly would definitely resolved the issues.
â€œI will assure you in the name of the struggle and in the name of the Nigerian people that I will peruse your demand to logical conclusion,â€ he said.