THE Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU) have extended their warning strike by two weeks.
The unions commenced a two-week warning strike on March 27 over the inability of the Federal Government to implement agreements signed in 2009.
The two unions had also expressed dissatisfaction over the Federal Government’s failure to pay their members’ minimum wage arrears since December 2021.
The Federal Government had also failed to pay earned allowances, despite a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in 2020.
According to a report, the notice for the extension of the strike was contained in a circular addressed to branch chairmen of NASU and SSANU in various universities.
The circular which was obtained by The Punch titled, ‘Re: Commencement of two-week warning strike’ was signed by SSANU President Mohammed Ibrahim, and NASU General Secretary Peters Adeyemi
Parts of the circular read, “Deriving from the failure of the Federal Government to act positively on the ongoing warning strike, Joint Action Committee hereby directs members to continue with the warning strike for another two weeks, hoping that within the period the government will be in a position to address these issues.
“However, if the present situation persists, members of NASU and SSANU will be adequately informed about the next line of action before the expiration of the additional two weeks.”
On March 16, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of SSANU and NASU had addressed a letter to the office of the minister of labor and employment, Chris Ngige, to remind him of the non-implementation of the MoU signed with the Federal Government in October 2020.
The letter accused the government of insincerity over failure to pay members of the two unions their earned allowance.
The JAC gave the Federal Government two weeks to take action.
On March 27, following a decision reached by the the JAC, SSANU and NASU joined the Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU) to stop both academic and administrative activities in public universities.
In an interview with The ICIR SSANU President Mohammed Ibrahim explained that the Federal Government has not shown any respect to the union, and has also displayed an unwillingness to fulfill agreements.
He said, “We are on strike because they failed to pay us the minimum wage arrears, whereas they have paid other organisations except the tertiary institutions staff. They also failed to address our signed MoU. There is also a promise of our earned allowance that we agreed with them since October 2020, which they haven’t released.
“Since the strike started on March 27, it was two days ago (Thursday) that we got a notice that our letter has been acknowledged. Nothing more than that. For the past two weeks that we started, they didn’t respond. That’s why we are extending it.
“Within this two weeks extension, if the government responds we can suspend it but if they don’t, then we have to sit again to see if we are reviewing it or not.”
He however noted that the two unions have started renegotiating the 2009 agreement with the Federal Government.
When asked if the Federal Government has taken any tangible action on the 2009 agreement, he said the strike emanated from the government’s failure to address the issues in the MoU.
“It is a whole document that we need to review, it won’t end after one or two meetings. It includes issues about the scheme of service, condition of service, salary review and so many other things associated with being a staff of the university which was agreed in 2009. And the 2009 agreement has within it, a provision that there should be review of the MoU after every three years. This is the first time we are reviewing it after 12 years,” the SSANU president said.
Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: email@example.com. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M