Education

Academic activities resume Monday as non-teaching staff suspend strike

by KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja

September 21, 2017 | 5:42 pm
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Academic activities are expected to commence in all federal universities across the country as all the three non-teaching staff unions suspended the 9-day old nationwide strike action.

The affected unions namely: Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU); Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) had on Monday, 11th September, 2017, embarked on total and indefinite strike action to press for the implementation of the 12 demands including the 2009, 2012 and 2017 agreements signed by both parties.

Samson Ugwoke, SSANU President who spoke on behalf of the three Unions at the end of the negotiation, disclosed that the suspension is conditional as the unions will not fail to resume strike if Federal Government fails to fulfill its obligations.

BusinessDay gathered that a copy of the resolution taken by the leadership of the three unions through the Joint Action Committee (JAC) has been sent to Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, which chaired the conciliatory meeting.

Ugwoke who confirmed that the N23 billion released by Federal Government was for both academic and non-academic staff of Nigerian Universities, stressed that there was no contention over the specific allocation to Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as contained in the agreement signed with the three unions.

He explained that the Earned Allowances is for payment of 2009 to 2012 Earned Allowances to both academic and non-academic staff.

“The strike by the university based non-teaching unions was indeed avoidable and would have been averted if government had done the needful. Arising from the series of deliberations and engagements, we have once again gone to the drawing board.

“The negotiations we have had since the beginning of the strike have developed a template which we hope will be a panacea to the continued conflicts between the university based non-teaching staff unions and the Federal Government. We have developed an actionable template with specific timeframes to implement salient aspects of the agreement.

“Based on the foregoing and following exhaustive and extensive consultations with our various union organs, we hereby announce the suspension of the strike action embarked upon by the Joint Action Committee of NAAT, NASU and SSANU, on the understanding that the time lines agreed with the Federal Government on the various issues are met.

“We have consequently directed our members to resume work on Monday, September 25, 2017. In one months time, we shall be reviewing the level of compliance with the agreement and shall not hesitate to resume the strike action if government reneges on the agreements reached or delays in any aspects,” Ugwoke who doubles as JAC chairman said.

While noting that the understanding reached by the parties on Thursday, 21st September 2017, Ugwoke  enjoined Government to respect agreements reached and ensure their compliance.

“We maintain our principled stand on the dictum “Pacta Sum Servanda” – Agreements entered into must be honoured. This dictum is not restricted to this agreement alone, but any other agreement signed with workers across all sectors.

“The level of confidence in government by Nigerian workers is indeed poor and highly eroded as workers no longer have trust in policies of government despite the fact that MOU’s and agreements are reached. Government must therefore embark on a deliberate policy of confidence-building, to shore up trust and belief in its activities. This is the key solution to end the spate of industrial actions in the country.

“The strike by the university based non-teaching unions was indeed avoidable and would have been averted if government had done the needful. Arising from the series of deliberations and engagements, we have once again gone to the drawing board. The negotiations we have had since the beginning of the strike have developed a template which we hope will be a panacea to the continued conflicts between the university based non-teaching staff unions and the Federal Government,” he stressed.

While speaking on the 2009 renegotiation issue, Ugwoke noted that JAC has already submitted all relevant documents to the Wale Babalakin’s Committee, but awaiting the Committee to reconvene for further negotiation.

The 12-point demand negotiated by the parties are: Non-payment of Earned Allowances to our members;
the problem of bad governance affecting the university system; Poor funding as against UNESCO recommendations; Inadequate infrastructure in universities and abandoned projects; shortfall in payments of salaries; Non-implementation of the National Industrial Court (NUC) judgement in respect of university staff schools; Non-registration of National Universities Pension Commission (NUPEMCO); Non-implementation of CONTISS 14 and 15 for Technologists; Problem of lack of adequate teaching and learning facilities in the universities; corruption in the university system; Lack of seriousness in the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/University Unions Agreement and Usurpation of Headship of Non-Teaching Units by academic staff.

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by KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja

September 21, 2017 | 5:42 pm
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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