SSANU, NASU begin strike today

354

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) have launched a nationwide strike against what they call the Federal Government’s discriminatory treatment and discrepancy in the payment of withheld salaries.

“Definitely, it (the strike) has already started,” SSANU President Mohammed Ibrahim announced on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief show on Monday.

“As at today (Monday), all our workers in registry, bursary, works and maintenance, secruity, students’ affairs have withdrawn their services and nothing moves within the administration of any public university in Nigeria and that will be the case for the next seven days until and unless the needful is done.”

He complained that no government representative had contacted the non-academic unions, and that while some had done so unofficially, their guarantees could not be taken seriously.

Ibrahim suspected “saboteurs in his government” and questioned why President Bola Tinubu would order varsity union members to pay 2022 arrears when some government officials refused to comply.

The SSANU President stated that Labour Minister Nkiruka Onyejeocha has not contacted the disgruntled unions despite a seven-day notice issued last Monday, a break from the responsiveness of former Labour Minister Chris Ngige.

Ibrahim stated that if the government fails to heed the unions’ requests following the seven-day warning strike that began today, SSANU and NASU would return to their toolbox and determine the next course of action.

VCs, Registrars, and Bursars Are Not Paid
Last Monday, March 11, 2024, SSANU and NASU threatened to shut down dormitories and electricity supplies at universities across the country if the Federal Government did not accept their demands by today, March 18, 2024.

The SSANU President stated that his members, including Vice Chancellors, Registrars, and Bursars, have not been paid their 2022 arrears.

“Shutting down the university is clearly beyond how it will affect the students because it’s everybody; there will be no electricity, there will be no water, there will be no security, there will be no hostels for students, and there will be no administration,” he said.

The SSANU head had criticized the Federal Government for paying withheld salary to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) while ignoring other unions including as SSANU and NASU.

The unions had declared an eight-month strike in 2022 to fight for some of their objectives, including an improved welfare package. The administration of then-President Muhammadu Buhari then implemented a ‘No Work, No Pay policy’ against the unions, but Tinubu last October allowed the release of four of the eight months’ worth of withheld salaries for ASUU members.

Ibrahim claimed that all communication channels had failed, necessitating the action.

He accused the Accountant General’s office, through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) office, of treating SSANU and NASU with contempt, despite the fact that the President approved waivers requiring all unions participating in the 2022 industrial action to be compensated.

Ibrahim ascribed the entire incident to a misunderstanding of priorities, claiming that the university is a chain and that “you don’t treat one group differently than others.”