The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) said they would proceed on strike over unresolved issues with the Federal Government immediately the universities reopen.
KanyiDaily recalls that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had on March 23, 2020, declared an indefinite strike over government withholding of the salaries of its members, who refused to enroll in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information platform (IPPIS).
While ASUU declared the indefinite strike, the Federal Government closed down all schools as part of the measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Amidst the ongoing strike by ASUU, the NASU and the SSANU has also threatened to proceed on strike once the nation’s universities open for academic activities.
The resolutions were signed by the SSANU National President, Mr Samson Ugwoke, and the General Secretary of NASU, Mr Peters Adeyemi.
The unions’ grievances included the lingering IPPIS debacle, non payment of arrears of earned allowance and minimum wage.
Others are the alleged lack of seriousness to renegotiate the 2009 SSANU agreements, neglect and poor funding of state universities, absence of visitation panels, among others.
Samson Ugwoke also cautioned against resumption of schools in the country, saying the Federal Government was not ready for the health challenges that reopening of schools could pose.
On the IPPIS, he said it was important to let Nigerians know “that before we finally bought into the IPPIS platform, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), SSANU, NASU and NAAT set up committees to appraise the software with a view to ensuring that the peculiarities of the university system were properly captured.”
Ugwoke also alleged that the IPPIS did not capture payment of minimum wage arrears and was fraught with irregular deductions and non-remittance of third party deductions such as bank loans, union check-off dues and cooperative contributions, among others.
The unions also passed a vote of no confidence on the Wale Babalakin Committee, which is negotiating the 2009 agreements with the Federal Government.
While seeking understanding of parents and students whose timelines for academic activities at all levels have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, they noted that Federal and state governments have not shown enough commitment to the reopening of schools.
NASU and SSANU observed that although government had developed templates and forms to assess the state of readiness of individual schools to reopen, they argued that most of the actions were bureaucratic, initiated just for face value and without commensurate back up to ensure their actualisation.
They maintained that government had not done anything to actualise safe reopening and for the parents and students, it would be a case of “to your tents Oh Israel!”
“Industrial unrest looms in the universities. As responsible unions, we have avoided the crisis, but irresponsibility of government and its officials have led us to a point where it has become inevitable.
“If fight we must, then fight we will. We have again cried out to the general public with a view to inviting stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on government to correct the anomalies in the IPPIS.
“We are asking for payment of arrears of earned allowances and minimum wage, and resolution of all the other issues highlighted above, failing which we will embark on strike when universities are directed to reopen for activities after the COVID-19 lockdown,” they added.
Meanwhile, ASUU has asked the Federal Government to leave the schools closed until 2021 inorder to ensure adequate preparations for the COVID-19 pandemic.