Release Members’ Three-and-a-half Months Salaries, CONUA Tells FG

The Congress of University Academics (CONUA) has called the attention of President Bola Tinubu to the continued withholding of the three-and-a-half months salary of its members, as a result of the strike by a sister academic staff union in universities.
In a statement, the National President, Dr. Niyi Sunmonu, said CONUA, as a union has consistently maintained that it never declared, and was not part of any industrial action.
He regretted that the government lumped together those who embarked on strike with those who did not.
“The union wishes to once again call the attention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to this development. This is unjust and is tantamount to punishing the innocent along with the guilty.”
He maintained that the federal government’s action goes against the judgment delivered on July 25, 2023 at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), which affirmed CONUA as an independent union.
“The president should note that withholding the three-and-a-half months salaries of members of CONUA, who neither declared nor participated in any strike, contravenes Section 43 (1b) of the Trade Disputes Act CAP. T8.
“This section states that ‘where any employer locks out his workers, the workers shall be entitled to wages and any other applicable remunerations for the period of the lock-out and the period of the lock-out shall not prejudicially affect any rights of the workers being rights dependent on the continuity of period of employment’. “This provision is consistent with global best practices,” Sunmonu said.
The CONUA boss added that failure to process and pay the outstanding salaries could throw the universities into serious crises and the peace currently being enjoyed, jeopardized.
“The union therefore wishes to call the attention of the president to the remuneration of academics, that has remained virtually stagnant since 2009 in spite of steady rise in costs of living,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sunmonu said that CONUA had once again reviewed the state of the nation and noted the excruciating pains Nigerians have been going through, following the removal of fuel subsidy since May 29, 2023 and the subsequent policy of floating the naira.
The union further noted that the pesident has assured the nation that a series of measures are being put in place to alleviate the suffering of the people.
“CONUA urges the president to expedite action on those measures, particularly the announcement of commensurate minimum wage that will cushion the effect of this untold hardship being currently experienced by the citizens,” he said.

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