No going back on Feb. 5 planned strike — Varsity workers


The Joint Action Committee of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), on Tuesday, maintained that it had not shelved its proposed plans to embark on an indefinite strike starting on Friday, February 5.

President of SSANU, Mohammed Haruna Ibrahim and the General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja after a 4-hour closed-door meeting with the representatives of the federal government led by Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.

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Addressing newsmen, Adeyemi said they, as union leaders lack powers to direct their members to suspend already planned strike action to press home their demands bordering on alleged injustice on sharing formula of N40bn Earned Allowance and non-payment minimum wage arrears.

Other contentious issues raised include: inconsistencies in the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), delay in renegotiation of FG/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreement, non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members among others.

NASU Secretary said, “We don’t have the mandate to talk about suspending the strike. That’s not within our competence. The mandate of our members stands until they ask us to reverse it.”

He explained that both parties did not exhaust the agenda of the meeting in order to have common ground on the issues raised.

According to him, “We have not concluded the work. There are some issues that developed during the course of our discussions. We need to take back to our members so that they can give us further directive.

“As a result of that development, we asked that the government should allow us time to meet our members and seek for further mandate.

“Clearly, the agenda of the meeting has not been exhausted, so there are still issues to be addressed. In fact, one of the most contentious issues is yet to be discussed.

“We are favourably disposed to dialogue and after discussing with our members, we will come back and continue with the discussion. So far, nothing has been concluded.”

On his part, the minister, who doubles as conciliator said they made progress during the meeting by setting up a joint committee that would address all issues raised about IPPIS.

The joint committee, according to him, included the Unions, members of the government side from the Ministry of Education; Salary, Wages and Income Commission; Office of Accountant-General and the National University Commission.

He said they would work hand-in-hand to make sure that all the anomalies that were complained of, were treated, saying he was hopeful that all would be done to the satisfaction of everybody.