The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has warned that industrial peace in universities may be worsened except the Federal Government urgently addresses issues of non-implementation of the 2009 agreement, non-payment of arrears of its Earned Allowances and shoddy implementation of Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
This position was one of resolutions of a zoom meeting of SSANU, Western zone, chaired by the union’s National Vice President, Mr Alfred Jimoh.
Noting that a letter of 14-day ultimatum, in respect of the issues, had been written to the federal government, SSANU said recalling students back to campus without addressing the pre-existing industrial grievances in the system, would amount to an exercise in futility.
Like its teaching counterpart, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), SSANU said its trust in IPPIS continued to be betrayed going by continued anomalies and inconsistencies in using the platform.
The union said the worrisome trend was seen in the ridiculous amputation of salaries stemming from illegal and unilateral removal of some negotiated Earned Allowances of members, Tax deduction, enforcement of alien deductions without members’ consent, non-payment of third party deductions including cooperative deductions and union dues.
SSANU stressed that IPPIS must correct all anomalies before the end of the lockdown to guarantee industrial peace in the university and its continued support for the payment platform.
On payment and implementation of earned allowance, Jimoh alleged that that government treated the non-teaching staff as inconsequential by focusing more on their teaching counterpart.
To avoid what they called the mother of all strikes by the non-teaching staff unions of Universities, Jimoh urged the government to pay all the arrears of Earned Allowances and implement them for monthly payment.
“With the outbreak of COVID-19 and its attendant effect cum containment protocols, the Nigerian University/Education system is now faced with a bigger challenge that could not be solved by any hasty decision to reopen schools particularly the tertiary institutions.
“It is a known fact that in the University system, for instance, the Teaching Staff has been on strike over the implementation of IPPIS payment platform in the university with the recent addition of the issue of their 2009 Agreement.
“SSANU, which is a strong member of the JAC of the Non-Teaching Staff of Nigerian Universities as at today has equally given a 14-day ultimatum to the government over the issues of non-implementation of 2009 Agreement, non-payment of the arrears of its Earned Allowances and the shoddy implementation of the
“We hereby resolve that government should positively address all issues raised by the SSANU in its letter of the ultimatum and put in place all the COVID-19 containment protocols before recalling students to the campus, as any reopening of the Universities at this point, without addressing the pre-existing industrial grievances in the system, would amount to an exercise in futility.
“Also, our Earned Allowances which are products of agreements freely entered into in 2009, still remain largely unpaid and unimplemented, despite the fact that this has been a major subject matter in our strikes ever since.
“The latest twist is for government to be treating the Non-Teaching staff as inconsequential when it comes to the issue of payment and implementation of our Earn Allowance focusing always on our Teaching counterpart. (We say this without any prejudice to our teaching colleagues).
“For genuine and lasting industrial peace to be ensured in our universities and inter universities centres, the government must urgently look into all these complaints with a view to promptly addressing them. The government must pay all the arrears of our Earned Allowances and implement them for a monthly payment to avoid a mother of all strike by the non-teaching staff unions of universities,” the meeting communique read.
Furthermore, the union bemoaned non-implementation of the 2009 agreement, urging the federal government to reinstate the Wale Babalakin Committee with a very short timeline to conclude its work.
According to SSANU, the Babalakin Renegotiation Committee which was put in place by the government in 2016 after intense pressure of a strike, appeared to be a “window dressing” effort.
The meeting also saw members demand a transparent implementation and payment of Minimum Wage and its consequential adjustment in universities and inter-university centers.
SSANU also described as worrisome the inability of members who retired recently and are yet to access their Pension fund because the government did not fund their Retirement Savings Account (RSA).
Following the development, the union lamented that several of its members were subjected to living in very ridiculous and abject poverty conditions.
Consequently, the union called on the government to urgently fund the RSA account to mitigate the situation of retired members made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.