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Fresh strike looms in varsities over minimum wage

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Adeyemi

The non-teaching staff unions in the universities have threatened an industrial action over the non-implementation of the minimum wage in tertiary institutions.

General Secretary of Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institution, Peters Adeyemi, told The Guardian yesterday in Abuja that a planned meeting with the Ministers of Education, Adamu Adamu, and his Labour and Employment counterpart, Chris Ngige, was the challenge delaying the proposed strike.

He claimed that the table released by the Salaries Income and Wages Commission shortchanged the non-teaching staff, resulting in palpable ripples in the ivory towers.

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His words: “What has been holding us from declaring a national strike over the matter is the appointment we are seeking to have with both the Ministers of Education and Labour. NASU does not want the ministers to claim that we have started creating problems in the system. But certainly, since the Minister of Education is not responding, and the one scheduled with the Minister of Labour and Employment is not holding in earnest, our members are agitating, and we will not hesitate to go on an industrial action very soon if nothing is done.

“How can the government pay minimum wage to everybody and leave universities and tertiary institutions’ workers out? That is a betrayal.”

The NASU scribe faulted the claim by the Director of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Olufehinti Olusegun, that the non-payment of minimum wage to tertiary institutions’ workers was due to non-commencement of IPPIS payment platform for the sector, describing the excuse as annoying.

“The director said the non-commencement of the IPPIS platform in the universities is what is delaying the payment of minimum wage to our members. If that is correct, then government will have to find another platform to pay us urgently or pay our members through the existing platform,” Adeyemi added.

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On the negotiation of the pay increase occasioned by the minimum wage adjustment, he deplored the table upon which the Salaries, Income and Wages Commission computed the salaries of university workers, stating: “The table is completely unaccepted to us in NASU. The tabulation done shortchanged our members. The table did not reflect the adequate percentage. Part of the reasons we wanted to see the Minister of Labour and Employment is for him to know that there is injustice in what has been computed. So, the matter is not just about the payment of the minimum wage, but also the table that they have published does not favour our members.”

Adeyemi continued: NASU is asking for a review of the table. Indeed, both the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and NASU held a meeting under the auspices of JAC to draw up what the table ought to look like.”

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, SSANU expressed dismay that after the Federal Government and the organised labour concluded negotiations on the new minimum wage and the consequential adjustments, university workers were yet to be paid the new pay.

The statement, which was signed by its National Public Relations Officer, Salaam Abdussobur, the union regretted that while workers in other sectors had started enjoying the new wage, university workers appeared to have been forgotten.

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