ASUU Threatens Strike Over Salary Arrears.

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The academic staff union of universities (ASUU) has given the federal government a two-weeks grace period to address its concerns or it will instruct its members to down tools. The lecturers say if the president Bola Tinubu administration fails to pay public university lecturers their withheld salaries, amongst other issues, they will proceed on an industrial action.

The president of the union, Emmanuel Osodeke, said it is unfair for the federal government to pay lecturers four months of their 2022 withheld salaries and hold on to that of three-and-half months.

Osodeke said the union rejects all “ongoing illegalities and flagrant violation of university autonomy in public universities as a result of non-reinstatement/reconstitution
of Governing Councils.”

He also said that Nigerians must hold the federal and state governments responsible if the matter of governing councils was allowed to degenerate into an avoidable industrial crisis.

The union president said the federal government is yet to address some of the issues that led to the last protracted strike, arguing that the government has instead rolled out minor fixes.

“As our union has consistently stated, salary awards are no substitutes for a negotiated Agreement. Each negotiated Agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) and ASUU is a comprehensive package that captures not the just salary component but also a gamut of requirements for benchmarking a competitive university system designed for addressing the developmental challenges of Nigeria.

“ASUU’s demand for negotiated salary and other conditions of service is anchored on the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention No. 98 which underscores the principle of collective bargaining.

“The last FGN/ASUU Agreement was in 2009. Consequent upon the union’s advocacy spanning almost one decade, our union went into the renegotiation with the FGN as in 2017.”

On the issue of governing councils, he said, “the NEC observed with dismay the continued erosion of autonomy of public universities, contrary to the provisions of the Universities Miscellaneous Act (1993, 2012).”

He added: “The illegal dissolution of Governing Councils by the Tinubu Government and many state governments has paved way for all manner of illegalities in the Nigerian university system.

“University administrations now place advertisements for the appointment of Vice-Chancellor without authorization from the appropriate quarters – the Governing Councils.

“Outgoing vice-chancellors, working in cahoots with the federal and state ministries of education, are illegally running the universities on daily basis.

“They routinely usurp the powers of Governing Councils to recruit and discipline staff as well as manage university finances in manners bereft of transparency and accountability,” he added.

The union further lamented the unending grip of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, saying that the platform is a fraudulent one that inflicted unprecedented hardship on Nigerian academics and corruptly distorted university operations with respect to payroll management.

“ASUU also lamented the socio-economic crises in which our nation, Nigeria, is currently engulfed are multifarious and multidimensional, no thanks to the massive injection of neo-liberal policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“The NEC, therefore, condemned in strong terms the seeming refusal of federal and state governments to decisively address all outstanding issues with the union.

“NEC shall reconvene after two weeks from the date of the NEC meeting to
review the situation and take a decisive action to address the issues,” he added.

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