James Sowole in Akure
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has described as unfair and wicked, the marginalisation and discrimination of non-teaching staff in Nigerian universities.
The National Vice-President of SSANU, South-west Zone, Mr. Alfred Ileasanmi expressed the position of members at the zonal meeting of the union held at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Ondo State.
He said it is disgusting that vice-chancellors in most cases regard non-teaching staff as second class citizens while preference is given to academic staff despite, interdependence of categories of workers in university setting.
“The needful should be done so that everybody working together in the system has a good sense of belonging in the system. In the university system, both the teaching staff and non-teaching staff are working together to produce one product which is the graduate.
“So if our members are not given their fair due in the system, the impact will be glaring, there cannot be industrial peace in the system.
“Our position is that VC and all the people that are saddled with the responsibilities of managing the system must take everybody along and give everybody their fair share in the system.”
The SSANU officer said the problem started as some vice-chancellors see themselves as belonging to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and in most cases care only about what concerns the union members, while issues concerning non-teaching staff are considered secondary.
“But a few of them who know their onions have always done the right thing, irrespective of who is not happy about it, so that ego is the main problem against the non-teaching staff that is creating the problem that we have.”
Ilesanmi said SSANU is ready to defend non-teaching staff on various issues irrespective of the disposition of some vice-chancellors and their mischievous intention.
He also described the recommendation in the needs assessment report that non-teaching staff should be outsourced as satanic, saying, “I am proud to inform you that we did all we could to kill and make that stupid submission not to see the light of the day, even though they are still working on it but what we did at that time was to come with our own document and we also went into research we came out with our document debunking the fallacy that they put in the needs assessment.
“We put it to them that even in world class universities the ratio of academic to non-teaching is not the same but out of the selfishness they are saying the non-teaching staff should be outsourced.
“I want to ask that which one is easy to outsource, administrators or lecturers? Are they not outsourcing themselves, are they not here and going to teach in other places?
However, Ilesanmi said some vice-chancellors like the current VC in FUTA must be commended for the way he has been handling issues of welfare of SSANU members.
He specifically commended the FUTA VC for the ingenuity that he brought to resolve the crisis that engulfed the institution before he assumed office and the way he resolved the issue, as well as the issue of the staff school.