•Faults imposition of IPPIS
Alex Enumah in Abuja
It was a mixed feelings, yesterday, for lecturers in the nation’s universities following a judgment of the National Industrial Court, which on the one hand held that it was within the right of the federal government to refuse to pay workers, who embark on strike and on the other, faulted the federal government’s imposition of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) on lecturers.
President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip, on while delivering ruling in the suit filed by the federal government against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), held that the “no work no pay” rule enforced by the federal government against members of ASUU last year was within the ambit of the law.
However, on the IPPIS issue, the court held that it is a violation of University Autonomy for the federal government to impose the platform on members of ASUU, who reserve the right to determine how their salaries should be paid.
The union had called out its members on an industrial action on February 14, 2022, to press home their demands on the federal government.
The demands included funding for the revitalisation of public universities, payment of earned academic allowances, and adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a preferred payment option instead of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Other demands were the payment of promotion arrears and the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement.
Minister of Labour and Employment at the time, Chris Ngige, had dragged ASUU to the National Industrial Court, seeking an order of the court to restrain striking lecturers from further continuing with the strike.
The legal action was occasioned by the refusal of the striking workers to go back to the classroom despite, a ruling of the National Industrial Court on September 21, last year, which had ordered them to resume work.
After no breakthrough in negotiations between ASUU and the federal government, the Appeal Court ordered the striking lecturers to resume duty immediately.
The court also granted ASUU “conditional leave to appeal the order of the Industrial Court, while insisting that ASUU must obey the order of the lower court with effect from October 7”.
Consequently, ASUU, in compliance with the Appeal Court order called off its strike sometime in October.
The federal government, however, insisted that the lecturers would not be paid for the 8 months that they were on strike, insisting on its ‘no work, no pay’ policy.
Ngige, in defence of the half salary paid to the lecturers last October, said they were paid on a pro-rata basis for the 18 days they worked.