“That members of NASU and SSANU shall embark on indefinite, comprehensive and total strike with effect from midnight of Friday, 5 February 2021,” the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), said at a press conference addressed last Friday in Abuja.
The General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi, who spoke on behalf of the leadership of JAC, highlighted the issues involved.
He said the ongoing industrial tensions in the university system stemmed from the failure of the government to respect Collective Bargaining Agreements entered into with the JAC of NASU and SSANU, specifically the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between officials of the Federal Government and both Unions on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.
Inconsistency in IPPIS payment
While addressing the press conference, Comrade Adeyemi said the unions joined the IPPIS in good faith and with an understanding that it would capture the peculiarities of the University System. “Sadly, since enrolling our members into IPPIS, we have experienced many anomalies and irregularities in salary payments to our members. Some of our members have not received salaries since enrolment about a year ago, while some statutory allowances were also not paid to deserving staff. Third party deductions such as Union Dues and Cooperative Societies contributions were muddled up,” he said.
He added that the confusion caused by IPPIS has led to their demand that it should be stopped as a payment platform for NASU and SSANU members and as such “we have also designed a payment platform called the University Peculiar Personnel and Payroll Payment System (U4PS).
“The October, 2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) resolved that the complaints of NASU and SSANU with respect to IPPIS would be corrected within two weeks. Three months after, there has been no correction of these anomalies leading to a high level of restiveness among our members who have been short changed on account of the problems caused by IPPIS.”
Non-payment of Earned Allowances
Earned Allowances are a product of the 2009 SSANU and NASU agreements with the government. He said the first tranche of N30 billion was paid in 2013 through the due process of the councils of the universities who disbursed the payments to deserving staff.
However, he said the second tranche in 2017 witnessed a breach of due process and the payment was allocated from the Federal Ministry of Education at a ratio of 89 per cent for ASUU and 11 per cent for other Unions — NASU, SSANU and NAAT. He added that the council was sidelined while Inter-university centers were excluded.
Non-payment of arrears of national minimum wage
More than one year after the implementation of the national minimum wage, Comrade Adeyemi said the government has not deemed it fit to pay the arrears to staff of universities and inter-university centers despite the fact that other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS) had been paid.
He said the MoU signed with the Federal Government on October 20, 2020 agreed to compute and process the arrears for payment within a two-week time frame which the government has failed to comply with.
Delay in renegotiation of FG/NASU and SANU 2009 agreements
He explained that, based on the 2009 agreements with the Unions, the renegotiation with the Federal Government fell due in 2012, adding that after several correspondences to the Federal Government on the matter, it was only in 2018 that the Federal Government constituted a Renegotiation Committee headed by Dr. Wale Babalakin who resigned in that capacity last year. The NASU general Secretary said: “Unfortunately, since the reconstitution of the Committee with Professor Munzali Jibril as Chairman, the two Unions, NASU and SSANU, have not been invited for a meeting. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreed on a lag time of six weeks to conclude the Committee work and as such will be due by December 31, 2020. Here we are in January, 2021 with not even an invitation from the reconstituted renegotiation committee till date.”
Other issues, according to Comrade Adeyemi, are: Non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members; teaching staff usurping headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures; neglect and poor funding of state universities; and non-constitution of visitation panels for universities.
Regrettably, he emphasized that out of the seven issues, only one has been partially resolved while the other six issues have not been attended to by the government, three months after the Memorandum of Understanding was signed.
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