Withheld salary: SSANU strike ultimatum ends July 4

Withheld salary: SSANU strike ultimatum ends July 4

By AmforGod J. Olisa

In a last-minute effort to maintain industrial harmony, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has urged the Federal Government to prevent the impending shutdown of Nigerian universities and other higher institutions, set to begin on Thursday, July 4, by paying the withheld four months’ salary arrears owed to its members. The Joint Action Committee (JAC), which includes SSANU and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), had previously given the Federal Government a two-week ultimatum to pay the arrears. While the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) received their withheld salaries, SSANU, NASU, and NAAT have not.

Following its 48th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the University of Benin, Edo State, SSANU is extending an offer for industrial harmony to the Federal Government, urging payment of the withheld salaries by Thursday, July 4. SSANU President Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, in a communique, criticized the government’s insensitivity and use of a divide-and-rule policy to create discord among university unions.

The communique stated, “NEC in session once again expresses utmost dismay at the unprecedented level of Government’s insensitivity and deliberate resolve to cause chaos in the university system by adopting the divide and rule policy to set unions on a collision course through preferential treatment of one union over others.”

SSANU recalled that in 2022, they were compelled to strike due to the government’s refusal to honor a Collective Bargaining Agreement. Despite promises, the government selectively paid the withheld salaries, excluding SSANU and NASU. SSANU demands equal treatment and payment of their withheld salaries.

“Despite all promises and media hypes by the Ministers of Education and Labour, including the House of Representatives to pay these arrears, Government has continued to dribble SSANU, even after the mutual agreement to suspend the one-week warning strike in March this year.”

The NEC has approved a comprehensive industrial action, in coordination with the Joint Action Committee of SSANU and NASU, to begin on Thursday, July 4, if the arrears are not paid.

Regarding the government’s N35,000 wage award to mitigate the fuel subsidy removal’s impact, which has been stopped, SSANU noted the inadequacy of the award and its stoppage in Federal Universities, with three months’ arrears still unpaid. Many state universities have not implemented this wage award, worsening members’ financial situations.

The NEC urged the Federal Government to resume payment of the wage award and the accrued arrears immediately. It also called on state governments to start paying the award with the arrears owed to their members in state universities.

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