Minimum Wage, N40B EA Saga Threatens Re-opening of Nigerian Varsities.
The Nigerian university Non-teaching staff, on Sunday, has issued a warning, threatening the re-opening of Nigerian Universities, by embarking on an indefinite strike after 14 days over the Federal Government’s ‘refusal’ to intervene in the sharing formula of the N40 billion Earned Allowance.
The workers under the union of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologies (NAAT), and the Joint Action Committee (JAC), also Voiced out their displeasure over the government’s inabilities to fulfill their promise to pay the arrears of the New National Minimum wage.
In separate interviews with journalists in Abuja, President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Haruna Ibrahim, and its NAAT counterpart, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma, lamented why the government had ‘refused’ to honor agreements reached on both issues Ibrahim said,
“My members and by extension, all other categories of staff in Nigerian Tertiary institutions are disappointed and disenchanted by this singular act of government’s refusal to honor its promise to pay the arrears of the New National Minimum Wage that was approved by Government since April 2020.”
On the other hand, Nwokoma added that they were also demanding that government releases 50 percent of the N71 billion accrued allowance it owed members of the union from the 2009 agreement.
He explained that the Union is forced to resort to strike after 14 days adding that letters had been written to the relevant authorities without any reasonable response, saying the minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, is aware of the planned industrial action.
According to him, “We have written to the government that NAAT as a body ought to be informed about percentage of the N40bn due to the union and must be well defined.
“In the MoU, we entered with the government on November 18, in item number 2b, we demanded that in sharing of the N40bn released; that government should clearly define what is going to be allocated to each Union and government agreed to the genuineness of our demands and said NUC and Federal Ministry of Education will work it out in conjunction with the union. And what they have done goes completely against the letters of that MoU.
“We have given government ultimatum of 14 days. We wrote to the government on 30th December. And we have given the government 14 working days and if at the end of the 14 working days our demands are not met, we resume our suspended strike.
“Definitely we will close down the schools; definitely there will be no opening of schools. If anybody thinks that ASUU has called off the strike and that schools will reopen, then let the person dare us. Let us know how effective or how possible it is for schools to reopen when Technologists are on strike.
“If the government in its own wisdom has said ASUU should take N30 billion from the N40 billion released, it is not the business of my union. But we have also told the government that the arrears accruable to my union since 2009 to 2020, they have paid up to 2012, is N71bn and we have demanded 50 percent of that amount and we have also given government ultimatum of 14 days if the government fails to do that, we will call on our members to go on strike.
Nwokoma further opined that nobody has the monopoly of closing or opening Universities by the strike.