… Give FG 5 weeks to implement MoU
Magnus Eze, Abuja
Non-teaching staff of universities, comprising the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non Academic Staff of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) have called off their three months old strike.
Members have been directed to return to their duty posts with effect from today.
The three unions, under the platform of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) commenced indefinite industrial action December 4, 2017, to protest the Federal Government’s failure to implement their 2009 agreement.
Other issues in contention bordered on non-payment of allowances, usurpation of non-teaching staff jobs by academic staff, disobedience of the National Industrial Court’s order on funding of staff schools as well as corruption in the university system, among others.
JAC Chairman, Samson Ugwoke, who addressed a press conference at NAAT National Secretariat in Abuja, yesterday, said government showed seriousness in meeting some of their demands with a specific time frame and referred to payment of earned allowances, visitation panels to universities in five weeks and staff schools as some area where government made commitments.
Ugwoke decried government’s penchant for not keeping to agreements, and added that the industrial action could have been avoided.
“We have, therefore, directed our members to resume work today. We, however, wish to state that the strike was only suspended and shall not hesitate to resume to resume the strike if government reneges on the agreements reached or delays in any aspects.
“We are resuming with one eye closed. We trusted government before and they failed. This time around, if they fail, the outcome and reaction will be grievous to the system,” Ugwoke stated.
The unions also appealed to their members to work hard, with more commitment towards covering up for what was lost during the strike.
They regretted the pains the strike had caused students and parents but added that their members were also victims of the action because their children also attend Nigerian universities.
Ugwoke further explained that government has five weeks to implement all issues agreed upon and that at the expiration of the period, all agencies of government concerned would converge on the Ministry of Labour and Employment, to report the level of compliance.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, had, after a conciliatory meeting with the striking unions, at the weekend, disclosed that government is shopping for N8 billion to pay them.
The resolution was jointly signed by Ngige, NAAT’s President, Sani Suleiman, NASU’s General Secretary, Peters Adeyemi, SSANU’s President, Samson Ugwoke and Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah.
Ngige also said part of the N8 billion would be used to pay members of the Academic Staff of Universities Union (ASUU), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN); who were not paid during the last disbursement.
He further said the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission will rework the December 15 Call Circular on university staff schools.