As the Minister of Labour and that of Education schedule a meeting with Academic Staff Union of Universities today over its three weeks strike, the three bodies constituting the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) announced yesterday that it will be going on strike by Monday, September 11.
Chairman of the Joint Action Committee constituted by the three Unions under NASU, Samson Ugwoke, said in Abuja that the Unions will be embarking on the strike action due to what he described as failure of the Government to honour a Memorandum of Understanding reached after a warning strike earlier this year.
“The January strike was suspended on January 18 through the intervention of the Minister of Labour and Employment, who headed the Federal Government team that interfaced with JAC. Unfortunately, seven months after, we are still at the sorry situation we were before the Memorandum of Understanding was signed as issues in contention were not addressed and government kept a dead silence despite letters and entreaties reminding them of their commitment to the non-teaching staff unions.”
95% of the members of all three Unions being National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SAANU), voted yes to a strike until Government opens dialogue.
It will be recalled that NASU went on a warning strike in January because the Ministry of Education was said to have ignored its letters including a 35 days ultimatum given on December 8, 2016. The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, in a meeting with Joint Action Committee of the Unions had promised that all demands of the Union were being met stressing that the only error was in communication.
NASU made eleven demands as follows:
Payment of earned allowances – it claims the Government owes workers under NASU 62 billion of negotiated, agreed and earned allowances.
Review of the governance system in the universities – it claims government interferes with University administration while granting Universities autonomy at the same time.
Improved funding in line with UNESCO recommendations – UNESCO recommends 26% of budget be allocated to education. The 2017 budget gave 6% to education.
Provision of infrastructure in universities
Payment of salary shortfalls of members
Implementation of the National Industrial Court judgment on Universities’ Staff School – the Government and the Union disagreed on who should fund staff schools and the Industrial Court ruled in the Union’s favour holding that the Government should.
Registration of pension fund – NASU has been asking the Government to comply with the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2014 since October last year.
Implementation of CONTISS 15 for technologists – CONTISS 15 is a service scheme approved by the Government being a promotion system.
Improvement of teaching and learning facilities in Universities
Stemming of tide of corruption in the University system
Showing more commitment and seriousness in the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/Universities Unions agreements.