Varsity staff unions threaten action over withheld salaries

By Nudoiba Ojen

The Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) have said they will not be able to guarantee industrial peace in the universities over the prolonged withheld of salaries of members.

They gave the Federal Government seven days within which to do the needful over the withheld salaries or they would not guarantee industrial peace in the institutions.

The salaries were seized by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari during their strike in 2022.

The unions, in a joint letter signed on Friday by the President of SSANU, Muhammed Ibrahim and General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, questioned the rationale with which the government released four months withheld salaries to members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) but failed to release the withheld salaries of non-academic staff.

The unions said that they would no longer be able to assure the government of industrial peace in universities should the amounts owed by the government are not released.

Earlier, the unions wrote protest letters to the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, on February 13, 2024, over the exclusion of the Non-Teaching staff from the payment of outstanding four months salaries.

The letter read, “We are therefore shocked that two weeks after the letters had been sent and received by the appropriate quarters, the Federal Government has remained quiet and refused to take any step towards addressing this very sensitive issue and it seems as if the Federal Government is taking our maturity for granted.

“We like to confirm through this medium once again to the Federal Government that the pressure on us has intensified and we have done everything possible within our ambit to prevail on our members to maintain industrial peace and tranquillity.

“While we appreciate the Federal Government for paying our Academic counterpart, we also deem it necessary that our members are also paid. The various feelers we are getting from our members in the universities and inter-university ventures indicate that we can no longer guarantee and be able to sustain industrial peace in the university sector.

“We therefore use this opportunity once again to call on the Federal Government to do the needful within the next seven days as the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU should not be held responsible should the wheel of administration and corporate governance be grounded to a halt in the University sector, as we have exercised enough patience.

“If nothing is done by the Federal Government to positively address this situation and respond to our previous letters to them, the members of the two Unions may be forced to meet soon to take all lawful and stringent decision on the matter.”

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