More troubles for Nigerian universities as SSANU, NASU, NAAT declare total, indefinite strike

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University of Abuja
University of Abuja

Nigerian university workers have vowed to commence an indefinite strike from Monday, joining their academic colleagues.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, had earlier begun an indefinite strike on August 13 but will resume negotiation with the federal government on Thursday.

But at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, the Joint Action Committee, JAC, of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU; Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, NASU; and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, said the unions will begin a "total and comprehensive indefinite" strike due to the federal government's alleged failure to fulfil a 2009 agreement with the unions.

The chairman of JAC who is also the National President of SSANU, Samson Ugwoke, said the industrial action will begin on September 11.

He said the workers will not provide even skeletal services during the strike.

"Concessions shall not be granted while all our members are to stay at home till further notice, unless as directed by JAC through their respective presidents," Mr. Ugwoke said.

Apart from the 2009 agreement the unions said was reached with government and a Memorandum of Understanding reached this year, the unions said they were demanding payment of earned allowance to their members, review of governance system in universities, improved funding of universities in line with UNESCO recommendations and provision of infrastructure in the universities.

They are also asking for payment of salary shortfalls being owed, implementation of the National Industrial Court judgement on university staff schools, registration of Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company, NUPEMCO, and implementation of CONTISS 14 and 15 for technologists.

They also want improvement of teaching and learning facilities in the universities, stemming of the tide of corruption in the university system, showing of commitment in the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/University unions Agreements and ensuring the headship of non-teaching units by non-teaching staff employed for the purpose of those units.

The union also said it is essential for government to monitor the funds being released to universities.

"It is not about releasing money, but let it be used for the purpose it was released for, whether it is government fund or internal generated revenue. Government knows those that control funds in the university, " the JAC chairman said.

He said though the government was not given a timeline to fulfil these demands, a memorandum of understanding was signed after a January 18 meeting. He said the understanding should be implemented "as soon as possible."

"In 2015, the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, acting on behalf of the federal government, directed heads of institutions and agencies to stop the inclusion of workers in the university staff school from the payrolls of their institutions and based on the directive, over 2000 of our members were technically retrenched," Mr. Ugwoke said.

The unions said they had given the federal government a 35-day notice before they decided to commence the strike on Monday.

"Until we embarked on the five days warning strike in January, the federal government never called us for dialogue," he recalled.

"If an agreement was signed in 2009 and now in 2017 we are still demanding for the implementation of such agreement, does it not show that we have been exceedingly patient?

"Our Charter of Demands has been with the government before ASUU went on strike," Mr. Ugwoke said, stressing their decision to go on strike was not related to the ongoing action by their academic staff colleagues.

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