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Respite for students as varsities’ non-teaching staff suspend strike

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

Members of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) yesterday suspended the three months strike action embarked upon to protest the non-payment of their earned allowances and other sundry issues.

The workers, under the umbrella of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) said they suspended the industrial action following the agreement reached with the Federal Government after eight hours of negotiations.

Members of the three unions include the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).

National President of the association, Sam Ugwoke, who announced the suspension at a media briefing in Abuja, said members of the three unions have been directed to resume today.

Ugwoke however warned that the union would not hesitate to resume the strike if government reneges on the agreements reached or delays in any aspect.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige who met with the leadership of the union on Monday had said that government would source N8 billion, within five weeks, to pay the aggrieved workers.

The resolution was jointly signed by Ngige, Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah; NAAT’s President, Ugwoke; Mr. Sani Suleiman, NASU’s General Secretary and Mr. Peter Adeyemi.

Ngige also said part of the N8 billion would be used to pay members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and the University of llorin (UNILORIN), who were not paid during the last disbursement.

He also stated that the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission would rework the December 15 Call Circular on university staff schools.

“This is taking into consideration the observations of JAC, NAAT, NASU and SSANU with a view to ensuring it complies with the National Industrial Court (NIC) judgment.

Ngige also said the Federal Ministry of Education reported that the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has started payment of salary shortfalls, adding that the process is still ongoing.

He explained that the ministry would meet with the concerned institutions to ensure compliance with Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) requirements to facilitate payments of JAC members in the universities, which are yet to comply.

On the issue of the non-implementation of CONTISS 14 and 15 for technologists, the labour minister said the Ministry of Education has made submissions to the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, which would be transmitted to the National Council on Establishment (NEC) meeting slated for March 18, in Owerri.


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