SSANU, NASU, NAAT vow to go on strike

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Three unions of non-academic members of staff of universities have rejected the sharing formula adopted for the N40 billion approved by the Federal Government as Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) and therefore vowed to go on strike.

This followed Wednesday’s suspension of the nine-month strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

But the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, (SSANU); Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) accused the government of allocating about 75 per cent of the N40 billion EAA to ASUU, leaving the three other unions with only 25 per cent to share among their members.

ASUU President Professor Biodun Ogunyemi who announced the suspension of the strike on Wednesday warned that the union would resume the strike without notice if the government fail to implement the agreement as contained in the communique it signed at Tuesday’s meeting.

Ogunyemi said, “On the basis of the fore-going, the NEC resolved that the current strike by the union should be suspended conditionally with effect from 12:01 am Thursday, 24, 2020.”

The other unions however said they will not resume in January when universities reopen unless the Federal Government corrected the “imbalance”.

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National President of NAAT Ibeji Nwokomma said anyone thinking that the non-teaching staff unions in the universities would resume with the recent development was day-dreaming.

Nwokoma argued that the discrepancy in the sharing of the N40 billion contradicts the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Federal government and NAAT on November 18 during a conciliatory meeting called by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

Nwokoma said, “My union is rejecting the sharing formula of the Earned Allowances as it is being done by the government. Government has allocated 75 per cent to ASUU and 25 per cent to all other non-teaching unions in the universities. This is grossly inadequate.

“That is robbing Peter to pay Paul and using divide and rule in the university system. No union, not even ASUU, has the monopoly of opening or closing of schools through strike. Other unions also have that capacity to ensure that the system does not work.

“Secondly, my union, ASUU and other unions negotiated with the government, so, payment of Earned Allowances will be based on unions, it should be on the basis of the 2009 Agreement; that is where the Earned Allowances is derived from. Lumping my union with other non-teaching staff is neither here nor there and totally unacceptable to us.

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“We have an MoU with the government just signed on November 15, which says that government should clearly define what should go to go to each union and government agreed that it was going to do that and today they just shared the money anyhow without adhering to the MoU.

“My union is asking that our own Earned Allowances should be specified, whatever it is should be specified just like they did to ASUU. If nothing is done, we will close down the system until we are fairly treated.

He said he was making efforts to get in touch with the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, to draw the ministry’s attention to the brewing crisis.

National President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Haruna Ibrahim, said his union would not take the lopsided sharing formula.

He said, “I believe that this remains a rumour even though I know it could be true, I have seen 75 per cent and 25 per cent.

“But if that is it, we have stated in no uncertain terms that we will not take this kind of lopsided allocations again because what is the scientific measurement used to give this money. We have stated before now that the least we can take is 50-50, they are not more in numbers.

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“And even if they want to do something like that maybe this is my own personal opinion, I may not insist on 50-50 but at least something reasonable. We have so many numbers.

“If they give for example 60-40, do you think the noise will be there? Government does not want peace if it is giving 75 per cent to only one union and giving 25 per cent to three unions, does it make sense?

“Certainly, my members are more than willing to down tools if this becomes a reality.”

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