Strike: NLC gives FG 21 days to resolve issues with varsity unions

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…As SSANU, NASU mull indefinite strike

…Say they’ve written 10 letters to FG with no response

THE Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has given the Federal Government a 21-day ultimatum to resolve its face-off with the four university-based unions that led to the ongoing strike.
Labour also said it would convene a special meeting of the Central Working Committee, CWC, of all its affiliate unions to decide on the next line of action, if the government failed to take urgent steps to resolve the crisis.

These were contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting between the leadership of the NLC and the four university-based unions, Tuesday night, in Abuja.
It would be recalled that public universities in the country had been closed down as a result of the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU; Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU; Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied Educational Institutions, NASU, and National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT.

This is as the non-teaching staff in the universities, under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee, JAC, have threatened to embark on indefinite strike over the failure of government to address the concerns they raised.

The two unions said they had written about 10 letters to the government, drawing its attention to the last Memorandum of Action, MoA, entered freely but lamented that the government neither responded to the letters nor acknowledged them.

The NLC had on Tuesday met with the leaderships of SSANU, ASUU, NASU and NAAT in a bid to resolve the industrial dispute in the university system.

In a communiqué signed by its President, Ayuba Wabba, and the General Secretary, Emmanule Ugbaja, NLC said its intervention was as a result of the intermittent and protracted strikes and other industrial actions in Nigeria’s public tertiary education system, non-implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreements signed with unions in Nigeria’s tertiary education system, which touched on university funding.

Others include earned allowances and other welfare issues facing universities’ staff, and the fate of more than 95 per cent of Nigerian students constituted largely by children of the poor who cannot afford to pay the average of  N1 million school fees charged by private tertiary institutions and are currently idling away at home, while the children of the rich continue with their education.
Congress, in its resolution, “called on the Federal Government to immediately set up a high-powered panel, constituted of members with requisite mandates to resolve within 21 days the foregoing issues militating against industrial harmony in Nigeria’s university system.

‘’Pursuant to the foregoing resolution, the Nigeria Labour Congress would be convening a special meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of all the affiliate unions of the congress to decide on the next line of action.”

SSANU, NASU mull indefinite strike
Meanwhile the JAC of NASU and SSANU in a prepared text read by its spokesman, Prince Peters Adeyemi, said the two weeks warning strike they embarked on in March ended on Sunday but was extended for another two weeks because the Federal Government refused to attend to their demands.

They enumerated the contentious issues that led to the strike to include the problem of inconsistencies in payment with IPPIS, non-payment of earned allowances, non-payment of arrears of national minimum wage and its consequential adjustment and poor funding of state universities among others.

The two unions said: “Arising from the last memorandum and following up on the issues, we had written no fewer than 10 letters or reminders to the government to no avail, not even an acknowledgement.
“The letters of reminder included those dated July 26, 2021; August18, 2021; October 25, 2021; November 22, 2021;  February 24, 2022;March 1, 2022 and March 16, 2022.

“It was at the end of all these reminders with no acknowledgement by the government that we were left with no other resort but to embark on a two-week warning strike. Prior to the strike, due process was followed and the notice was issued in line with the extant laws.

“As at today, the two weeks extension is getting to the middle and with no response in sight from government, we may be left with no resort but to embark on an indefinite and total strike. This is gradually becoming unavoidable and inevitable.”

“To say we are saddened by the developments is putting it mildly; it is unbelievable that a Government cannot live up to its honour by implementing an agreement it freely entered into.

“It is a sorry path that we had avoided but being left with no choice, we have brought our agitation to you with a view to presenting them to the world, we call on well-meaning Nigerians and Stakeholders in the University System to prevail on Government to honour the agreement it freely entered into with the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU in order to avoid a total breakdown of industrial harmony in the Nigeria Universities and Inter-University Centres.”

 


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