University non-teaching staff threaten strike

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-Say industrial peace has broken down
-Accuse FG of insensitivity to their lights

NASU rejects staggered salary payment in Imo

The non-teaching staff in the universities have threatened to go on strike over the alleged insensitivity of the Federal Government towards their plight.

The non-teaching staff under the aegis of Joint Action Committee, JAC, comprising the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, said due to the alleged insincerity of the government in keeping to agreements, industrial peace in the university system will no longer be guaranteed.

Arising from its JAC, meeting in Abuja on Thursday, the non-teaching staff in a statement titled, “Red alert of industrial unrest in the university system,” lamented that government does not treat them with respect and has failed to honour agreements entered into with them.

JAC in a statement signed by Prince Peters Adeyeml, General Secretary of NASU, and Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim National President of SSANU said that its members were still facing problems with the Integrated Payment Personnel System, IPPIS, as they were still being paid salaries haphazardly.

The non-teaching staff said their members were facing untold suffering due to the disorganized payment, compounded by the unpredictable remittance of Third Party deductions of union check-off dues, cooperative societies, welfare schemes, bank loans among others.

The statement read: “The Joint Action Committee of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) at its meeting held on Thursday, 24 February 2022, reviewed the status of the Memorandum of Understanding reached with the Federal Government following our Industrial Action of January and February 2021.

“JAC noted that the January 2021 industrial action was preceded by a Memorandum of Action in October 2020 which highlighted the following: –

“Inconsistencies in IPPIS Payment. Non-Payment of Earned Allowances. Delay in Renegotiation of FGN/NASU and SSANU Agreement. Non-Payment of Arrears of National Minimum Wage. Usurpation of Headship of Non-Teaching Units in clear violation of Conditions of Service and Establishment Procedures. Neglect and Poor Funding of State Universities. Non-Payment of Retirement Benefits to Outgoing Members and Non-Constitution of Visitation Panel to Universities.

“We wish to make it public that till date, except for constitution of Visitation Panels which white papers are yet to see the light of the day, none of the issues as agreed in the October 2020 and February 2021 Memorandum of Action have been implemented.

“The attendant problems of the Integrated Payment Personnel System (IPPIS)) remains unabating as our members are still being paid salaries haphazardly. The untold suffering of our members due to the disorganized payment of salaries is further compounded by the unpredictable remittance of Third Party deductions – Union Check-Off Dues, Cooperative Societies, Welfare Schemes, Bank Loans among others.

“We had informed the Government of the development of software, the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (U3PS). To date, we have not been invited to any meeting to formally present our software talk less of accrediting it with the relevant government agency. To us, this is the height of insensitivity and contempt for the non-teaching unions.

“While we had agreed that a sum of thirty billion naira should be made available for the payment of arrears of Earned Allowance for the three non-teaching unions, we had an embarrassing situation where only 25% of a sum of Twenty-Two Billion Naira, was paid to the non-teaching staff in a disbursement made in December 2021, which has only caused further confusion and dissatisfaction in the University System.

“Till date, despite all entreaties, the arrears of National Minimum Wage being owed our members are yet to be paid.”

According to JAC, “On the issue of Renegotiation of our 2009 Agreement, while other stakeholders can claim to have concluded their renegotiations and seeking implementation, the non-teaching staff unions of NASU and SSANU have not been invited for any meeting for almost two years now. This situation we find utterly unfortunate.

“This was despite the fact that the Government had assured at the Conciliation Meeting that the Renegotiation exercise would be concluded within six weeks or latest by 31st December 2021.

“While the problem of usurpation of the headship of Non-Teaching Units by academic staff is unabating, we have witnessed a dangerous decline in funding of State Universities, as our members in many State Universities are being owed salaries with arrears running into months, thereby causing untold hardships and suffering.

“We wish to place on record that even the constitution of Governing Councils of
Universities have only been partially done, like the Universities of Agriculture to date remain without Governing Councils.

“Having waited one whole year for the consummation of the Memorandum of Understanding and despite all peaceful entreaties, we wish to notify all stakeholders in the Nigerian Universities and Inter-University Centres; and indeed all Nigerians of the possible breakdown of industrial peace in the university system borne out of disrespect for Collective Bargaining Agreements reached with NASU and SSANU by Government.

“Given the situation of things as at today and the agitation of our members, we can no longer guarantee industrial peace in our university system.

“With this release, we place all Nigerians on red alert of the possibility of an industrial action by the non-teaching staff unions of NASU and SSANU, as we can no longer watch by as agreements freely entered into by the Federal Government with the Unions are not respected.”

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