Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
Non-teaching staff of federal universities in the country have given the federal government up till February 5th to address their grievances or face an indefinite industrial action.
The notice to the government was read out to journalists yesterday by the leadership of Joint Action Committee of the union, led by SSANU President, Mohammed Haruna Ibrahim and NASU General Secretary, Comrade Peter Adeyemi.
The non-teaching staff under the auspices of the Non Academic Staff Union of Universities and Allied Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) had earlier undertaken a three-day protest at all the universities in the country to draw government’s attention to their grievances.
In their press statement read out to journalists, the unions said:
“In line with the resolution of our members nationwide, that the leadership of the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU hereby resolved “that members of NASU and SSANU shall embark on an indefinite, comprehensive and total strike with effect from midnight of Friday, February 5, 2021.
“That the two weeks’ notice, effective from today, January 22 is hereby given to government and relevant stakeholders of this development,” it said.
The two unions listed their grievances to include, inconsistencies in the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), non-payment of Earned Allowances, non-payment of arrears of national minimum wage, delay in renegotiation of FG/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreement and non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members.
Other issues in contention are the usurpation of headship of non- teaching units by the teaching staff in clear violation of condition of service and establishment procedures, neglect and poor funding of state universities and non constitution of Visitation Panels universities.
The unions said that out the seven issues, only one has been partially resolved while the other six issues have not been attended to by government, three months after the Memorandum of Understanding was signed.
NASU/SSANU JAC also expressed dismay at the alleged discriminatory manner in which Federal Ministry of Education and the Accountant General’s office have gone ahead to disburse the N40 billion released by government as Earned Allowances to the advantage of the academic staff.
The unions recounted their experience in 2017 when they alleged that the ministry shared the Earned Allowances at a ratio of 89 per cent for ASUU and 11 percent for other unions.
They accused the ministry of sidelining the university governing councils and inter-university centres.
“Our stand is that sharing money based on unions in the universities by the Federal Ministry of Education is fraud and should stop. Our stand is that federal government must halt the release of funds for Earned Allowances until the outcome of the forensic audit conducted on the previous payments.”