University Workers Vow to Join Nationwide Strike Monday

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By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) has said that its members will join the Nigeria Labour Congress in the mass action against increase in fuel price and electricity tariff scheduled to commence on Monday.

The association also said that it will be forced to withdraw services of its members in the federal government tertiary institutions any time schools reopen, if government fails to release intervention fund for resuscitation, rehabilitation, maintenance and procurement of laboratory/workshop/studio.

Addressing journalists on Friday at the end of the 43 National Executive Counciļ (NEC) meeting held on Friday, NAAT President, Comrade, lbeji Nwokoma, said the association was urging federal government to accede to the demand of the organized labour and reverse the price increases in petrol and electricity tariff so as to lessen the hardship Nigerians are going through.

He said the association was getting ready to join NLC and other affiliate unions to stage the protest on Monday.

He said: “There is the urgent need to resolve all issues that might lead to total and indefinite strike action as directed by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) of which NAAT is an affiliate.”

Speaking on the state of the nation, especially the challenges the country faced in the last six months, NAAT president said the association was lending her voice to the appeal by concerned Nigerians for the reopening of schools by the government.

He however said that government should take into consideration the need to provide necessary facilities and enabling environment for safe reopening of schools, especially tertiary institutions (Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education).

According to him, some of the facilities that needed to be put in place include, sanitary items, face shield and financial support for accommodation facilities.

Nwokoma also urged federal government to ensure the release of intervention fund for resuscitation, rehabilitation, maintenance and even procurement of laboratory/workshop/studio equipment and infrastructural facilities to facilitate reopening of schools.

He explained that most of these facilities had deteriorated due to non-usage owing to the

total lockdown.

Other recommendations are the provision of financial grants to students to cushion the effects of covid-19 pandemic.

Nwokoma further said the association would like federal government to give lasting solution to demands that led to university unions’ strike and the prevalent issues that may compel other unions to embark on strike upon the reopening of schools. Some of these issues inciude: “Non-payment of minimum wage arrears to all the tertiary institutions

including members of NAAT, failure of integrated Personnel Information and Payment Systems

(IPPIS) to implement all items contained in FGN/NAAT 2009 Agreement which are already being implemented prior to introduction of IPPIS”.