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Fresh worry as NASU, SSANU begin warning strike tomorrow

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
11 January 2021   |   4:17 am
Hope that federal universities will reopen soon may be dashed as members of non-academic unions are beginning a three-day warning strike from tomorrow January 12, 2021.

Peters Adeyemi

Hope that federal universities will reopen soon may be dashed as members of non-academic unions are beginning a three-day warning strike from tomorrow January 12, 2021.

In a letter dispatched to all branch chairmen of both Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) at the weekend, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the two unions explained that the three-day protest is against sharing of N40 billion earned allowances and non-implementation of the agreement it reached with the Federal Government.

At their meeting held in Abuja at the weekend, the two unions listed inconsistencies in the IPPIS payment; non-payment of Earned Allowances (EA); non-payment of arrears of minimum wage; delay in renegotiation of FGN/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreements; non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members; teaching staff usurping headships of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and established procedures; neglect and poor funding of state universities and non-constitution of visitation panels for universities as contained in the Memorandum of Understanding, as issues in dispute.

The JAC directed members of the unions to use today, Monday, January 11, 2021 to sensitise all their colleagues to the imperativeness of the warning strike.

The directive, which was jointly signed by the General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, and President of SSANU, Mohammed Ibrahim, added: “That a 3-day protest should hold from Tuesday, 12th – Thursday, 14th January, 2021 at each branch from 8am – 4pm each day.

”Branch leaders are to ensure that the press is fully mobilised and carried along in the protests. State, zonal, and national officers of JAC shall monitor the protest to ensure strict compliance by branches. Every branch should ensure that all members fully participate in the protests while all COVID-19 protocols are to be complied with.

“As the branch protests mark the beginning of a series of industrial actions to be undertaken by JAC, you are to await further directives immediately after the 3-day protest. Every branch must comply and strictly adhere to these directives.”

While faulting the 75 per cent to members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and 25 per cent to the non-academic staffers, Adeyemi submitted that the process that was used in determining the sharing formula was not scientific.

He also challenged Federal Government to unveil the findings of a forensic audit empanelled to determine how much earned allowance is still outstanding.

“There was a time Federal Government, in conjunction with the office of the Accountant General, hired some consultants to conduct forensic audit of what has been paid so that whatever releases that would be made subsequently would be predicated on the result of the findings of the forensic audit.

The audit was meant to determine how much had been paid members of each union. To us, that was a scientific way of determining how much is owed. But to our surprise, Federal Government said the academic union should take 75 per cent of the N40 billion that was released recently and 25 per cent to other three unions. We were taken aback by that fiat because it was not based on any fact. To us, that step was meant to promote corruption of highest proportion ever known in the university funding,” he explained.