The National President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Mohammed Ibrahim says the union might embark on an industrial action if the federal government does not listen to their demands.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) had earlier on Tuesday commenced a three-day national protest over irregularities in Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) payments, non-payment of Earned Allowances, non-payment of arrears in minimum wage among other issues.
Ibrahim in an interview said although negotiations are currently ongoing, the union might go on a strike.
“In the labour laws, strikes are not abnormal. We can also go on strike but whenever our members go on strike, it is the last option, we don’t jump on strikes.
“We go on strike when it becomes inevitable, so I will not foreclose that if the government doesn’t listen (which I don’t want to believe because engagements have started), we will go on strike,” Ibrahim said.
The SSANU President explained further that situations are thoroughly assessed before the union proceeds on a strike. The ongoing protest, he said, is aimed at sensitising the federal government.
“We normally appraise situations. After day three of this protest, we will assemble in Abuja and appraise the situation. We will get our reports from the branches. The major aim of our protest is to sensitise the government to know that there is a problem and the problem is that they are not honouring agreements. From agreements, we have moved to MoUs.
“MoUs are turning to a charade – where you sit down, take tea and then sign MoUs which never see the light of the day,” he said.
Ibrahim said after the three-day protest, JAC will meet, appraise the situation and we will let the world their next line of action.
He also assured that whenever SSANU and NASU meet, any decision taken will be in the best interest of the system and their membership.
The university workers are also protesting the sharing formula of the N40 billion given the universities by the Federal Government.
They insist that the 75 per cent and 25 per cent sharing formula for the earned allowances does not favour their members.
Other issues include the delay in the renegotiation of FGN, NASU and SSANU 2009 agreement, non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members, neglect and poor funding of state universities, and non-constitution of visitation panels for universities.
Members of the union who joined in the protest include the workers in the Federal University Of Technology, Owerri, Imo State; Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Benue State; the University Of Ilorin, Kwara State and, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi; the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Lagos State, and other insitutions.