Another Strike Looms In Nigerian Universities As Non-Academic Staff Declare 3-Day Protests
Nine months after the non-academic staff unions of universities suspended their nationwide strike, one of the unions said it is embarking on three days national protest, PREMIUM TIMES reports.
The academic staff, ASUU, have been on a nationwide strike since November 4.
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) said the protest is about the non-implementation of the agreement reached with the federal government that led to the suspension of its earlier industrial action in March.
The protest will begin on December 17 and ends December 19.
A spokesperson for SSANU, Abdussobur Salaam, disclosed this in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Monday evening.
He said the protest was a decision made at the union’s 35th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Enugu State University (ESUT) on December 5 and 6.
”In view of the above, the National Executive Council of the Union resolved that branches organise a three-day national protest across the Country between Monday 17th and Wednesday 19th December 2018,” Mr Salaam said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how three non-academic staff unions embarked on a nationwide strike on December 4, 2017, and suspended it in March 2017.
The unions are SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had said then that the government will source for eight billion naira within five weeks to pay the striking workers.
The minister announced this at a resolution reached at a conciliation meeting on March 13, 2018.
But Mr Salaam said the delay in the payment of Earned Allowances had become a source of discomfort and agitation by members of the three unions, while it had also become a source of embarrassment for the leadership.
”The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Education had informed the Chairman of the Joint Action Committee of NAAT, NASU and SSANU via a letter dated 9th August 2018, that approval had been given for the release of Eight Billion Naira being payment of Earned Allowances for Non- Teaching Staff in the Universities and requested for templates for the payments to the unions,” Mr Salaam said.
He said it appears the letters being sent to the unions are a delay ploy by the Federal Ministry of Education ”as the letters in themselves are needless, because the unions had always made their positions known since the irregular disbursement of N23 billion to ASUU in 2017”.
He said the status of the workers in the university staff schools remained the same despite the National Industrial Court ruling of December 5, 2016, which had ruled that the workers in the university staff schools are employees of the federal government.
”The members of staff domiciled in the University Staff Schools, numbering over two thousand, have been subjected to trauma, insecurity and denials of salaries, some going to upward of a year, a situation that the union cannot continue to accept,” he said.
Mr Salaam said it is unfortunate that the federal government has continued to show apathy and disinterest in all other aspects of the Memoranda of Understanding reached between it and the union.
”Members should be fully mobilised to participate in the protests, while branches are advised to carry along the media and the security agencies accordingly,” he said.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the ministry of labour and employment, Samuel Olowookere, said he would get back to this reporter.
He was yet to do so at the time of this report.