SSANU, NASU threaten strike over withheld salaries

THE Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) have threatened to embark on strike over unpaid salaries.

A joint statement signed by the president of SSANU, Muhammed Ibrahim, and the general secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, on Friday, March 1,  raised concerns about the Federal Government’s decision to release four months of withheld salaries to members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) while neglecting to release the withheld salaries of non-academic staff.

The committee said the reactions from the members of the two unions indicated that they would no longer guarantee and be able to sustain industrial peace in public universities.

The ICIR reports that the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari withheld ASUU members’ salaries when it invoked a ‘no work, no pay’ policy during an industrial action by the lecturers that lasted eight months, from February 14 to October 14, 2022.

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The lecturers subsequently suspended the strike following a court order initiated by the Nigerian government at the time.

Similarly, SSANU and NASU embarked on strike for five months between April and July 2022, to compel the Nigerian government to meet its demands as ASUU.

The Buhari government also invoked the ‘no work, no pay’ policy on the striking non-teaching university workers as their ASUU counterparts.

However, in October 2023, President Bola Tinubu pledged to pay four of ASUU’s withheld eight months’ salaries, with the union confirming the commencement of the payment in February.

Protesting the Tinubu’s government decision to pay only ASUU and remaining silent on the fate of its members whose salaries were also withheld by the government, SSANU and NASU wrote to the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, on February 13, 2024, urging the President to also approve the release of their members’ withheld salaries.

They warned that if the government goes ahead with the exclusion policy, the two unions should not be held liable for any disruption in the universities’ academic calendar.

Meanwhile, in a letter released today, the Joint Action Committee expressed shock over how the government has failed to respond to the letters.






     

     

    The committee, while highlighting that pressure from members of the union had intensified, noted that it had done everything possible within its powers to prevail on its members to maintain industrial peace.

    Part of the letter read: “While we appreciate the Federal Government for paying our academic counterpart, we also deem it necessary that our members are also paid. The various feelers we are getting from our members in the universities and inter-university centres indicate that we can no longer guarantee and be able to sustain industrial peace in the university sector.

    “We, therefore, use this opportunity once again to call on the Federal Government to do the needful within the next seven days as the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU should not be held responsible should the wheel of administration and corporate governance be grounded to a halt in the university sector, as we have exercised enough patience.

    “If nothing is done by the Federal Government to positively address this situation and respond to our previous letters to them, the members of the two unions may be forced to meet soon to take all lawful and stringent decisions on the matter.”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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