The non-academic workers at Nigerian universities have announced plans to commence an indefinite strike on February 5, 2021.
The Joint Action Committee of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities made this known in a press statement on Friday.
In the statement titled, ‘Press statement on the ongoing industrial unrest in the Nigerian university system over the lack of respect for collective bargaining agreement’, the workers said the strike was necessitated by the Federal Government’s failure to yield to their demands after three-day nationwide protests.
JAC had directed the branches of NASU and SSANU to convene joint congresses on January 19 to take a resolution on the possible commencement of an indefinite strike over the non-implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the unions by the Federal Government last October.
After the congress, a majority of the branches voted that there should a strike to press home their demands and other contentious issues – inconsistencies in IPPIS payment, non- payment of earned allowances, non- payment of arrears of national minimum wage, delay in renegotiation of FGN/ NASU and SSANU 2009 agreements, non- payment of retirement benefits of outgone members.
Others are teaching staff usurping headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of Conditions of Service and Establishment procedures, neglect and poor funding of state universities, and non- constitution of Visitation Panels for universities.
Part of the statement read, “The Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU had been very circumspect about embarking on a strike action. It has never been our style to undertake strike actions at the drop of a hat.
“Sadly, it would appear that our non-belligerent modes of engagement have been taken for weakness and our belief in civil engagement and dialogue has been taken for granted. It is against this backdrop and in democratic spirit that the leadership of JAC of NASU and SSANU threw back the decision after the three- day protests to the various memberships across Branches on the way forward and the resolutions have been overwhelming.
“The resolutions across the Branches have been overwhelming and convey the disenchantment of members over the sorry state of affairs.
“The outcome of the resolutions across the Branches are as follows: NASU – 90 per cent in support of strike, 10 per cent against strike; SSANU – 83 per cent in support of strike, 11 per cent against strike, and six per cent indifferent.
“It is in line with the resolution of our members nationwide, that the leadership of the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU hereby resolve as follows – that members of NASU and SSANU shall embark on an indefinite, comprehensive and total strike with effect from midnight of Friday, 5th February 2021.
“That two weeks’ notice effective from today, Friday 22nd January 2021, is hereby given to Government and relevant stakeholders of this development.”
It was reported that the unions were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, sharing formula of the N40b earned academic allowances and non-payment of arrears of the new minimum wage.
They protested the inconsistencies in IPPIS payment, non-payment of retirement benefits to former members, non-constitution of visitation panels to universities, poor funding of universities, teaching staff usurping the headship of non-teaching units, among others.