University workers strike begins midnight today

THE nationwide strike by the university workers will commence midnight today, as the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU) have directed their members in public universities across the country to shut down the system by 12 midnight.

President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Haruna Ibrahim, who spoke with Nigerian Tribune Thursday evening, said there was no end to the crisis in sight, as only two of the contentious issues were discussed with government “before we get into a deadlock.”

Already, the unions, under the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of SSANU and NASU, had sent a circular to their branches to mobilise all their members to commence the strike. However, he said branches would be holding congresses across the country today to “determine the next state of affairs,” based on the outcome and report of their last meeting with the government on Tuesday.

Mohammed pointed out that if the congresses directed the leadership to suspend the strike based on what the government has done so far, they would do that.

“The strike stays while we await the inputs from our branches. We have briefed them on what the government has given so far. We were only able to discus two issues out of seven before we get into a deadlock.

“One of it (issues) is IPPIS, they said they are going to form two committees. One of it to look at the immediate problems, the mutilation of salary, and those who have not been able to be paid.

“The other one is a bigger committee that will look at the allowances that were removed when we enrolled into IPPIS. This is not something that will finish in the next one month and there is no timeline for the assignment.

“The other issue is the national minimum wage arrears and they said they have submitted it for supplementary budget. Even for that one, there is no date for payment.”

The circular, dated February 3, 2021 and addressed to all branches of NASU and SSANU, was titled: “Update on the conciliation meeting held with representatives of the Federal Government at the instance of Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment: Request for the way forward.”

Signed by the General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi and the National President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, the circular read in part: “In view of the outcome of the meeting, the leadership of the JAC of NASU and SSANU at the branches are hereby directed to convene joint general meetings on Friday, February 5, 2021 to give reponse on the outcome of the conciliation meeting and pass resolutions on the way forward.

“The resolutions of the branches must reach the respective national secretariats on or before Tuesday, February 9, 2021.”

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