The Joint Action Committee comprising the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) have threatened to begin industrial action if the Federal Government fails to meet their demands by Thursday.
Mohammed Ibrahim, National President of SSANU, made this known while speaking in an interview on Wednesday.
The unions commenced a three-day nationwide protest on Tuesday over perceived irregularities in Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) payments, non-payment of earned allowances, non-payment of arrears in minimum wage among other issues.
The non-academic unions described the Federal Government’s sharing formula between their bodies and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as illogical and a divide and rule tactic.
SSANU and NASU are against the N30 billion The Federal Government promised ASUU, insisting that the sharing formula of 75 per cent for the lecturers and 25 per cent for other unions is not favourable for them.
While acknowledging that negotiations are currently ongoing, Ibrahim said the unions may be forced go on strike.
“In the labour laws, strikes are not abnormal. We can also go on strike but whenever our members go on strike, it is the last option, we don’t jump on strikes,” Ibrahim said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“We go on strike when it becomes inevitable, so I will not foreclose that if the government doesn’t listen (which I don’t want to believe because engagements have started), we will go on strike.”
The SSANU President said the ongoing protest is aimed at sensitising the Federal Government on the challenges faced by the union and its members.
He noted that situations are thoroughly assessed before the union proceed on a strike.
“We normally appraise situations. After day three of this protest, we will assemble in Abuja and appraise the situation. We will get our reports from the branches. The major aim of our protest is to sensitise the government for them to know that there is a problem and the problem is that they are not honouring agreements. From agreements, we have moved to MoUs.
“MoUs are turning to a charade – where you sit down, take tea and then sign MoUs which never see the light of the day,” he said.
Ibrahim said after the three-day protest, JAC will meet, appraise the situation and we will let the world their next line of action.
He also assured that whenever SSANU and NASU meet, any decision taken will be in the best interest of the system and their membership.
Other issues highlighted by the unions include the delay in the renegotiation of Federal Government, NASU and SSANU 2009 agreement, non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members, neglect and poor funding of state universities, and non-constitution of visitation panels for universities.
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