Non Academic Staff Union of Universities and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities will begin a five-day warning strike from Monday, August 19, following alleged delay of the Federal Government in addressing their grievances.
Among the contentious areas included, Earned Allowances which the non-teaching staff unions claimed that they were shortchanged in the sharing formula.
They said that out of the N23 billion released to the four unions in the university, the Academic Staff Union of Universities allegedly took over about eighty per cent of the money, leaving only twenty per cent for the three unions.
They also lamented the inability of government to obey court judgment, especially the judgment of the Industrial Court in 2016 that directed government to reinstate sacked workers of Staff Schools, which had not been complied with and the re-negotiation of the 2009 agreement.
The National Public Relations Officer of SSANU, Salaam Abdussobur in a statement on Friday, said the one week strike would commence on Monday.
He said: “Based on poor response from the federal government, it is inevitable that a one week strike action shall be held as from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd August. This is following the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum given to the Federal Government.
“We met with officials of the Federal Ministry of Education led by the Permanent Secretary last week. While the meeting appeared successful on its face value, the resolutions are yet to be backed up by any correspondence or digest as agreed at the meeting.
“This is not the first time that meetings would be held and we will take them by their words only to be disappointed by their actions.
“Our members, being our principals, have contended that for all decisions reached with Government, there must be a level of corresponding actions that show their sincerity and commitment to those decisions. If the actions do not correspond, we must continue with our agitations.
“So, a five day warning, being part of the activities lined up in our agitations, have been resolved to proceed between 19th to 23rd.
“After the warning strike, another review shall be made which will determine the way forward.”
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Joint Action Committee comprising NASU and SSANU had issued a 14-Day Ultimatum to the federal government last week to either address their grievances or they would embark on total and indefinite strike.
It would be recalled that the two unions in a circular to all the branches after the JAC meeting in Abuja, said that at the expiration of the 14-days ultimatum, if the federal government failed to address all their grievances, they would be left with no other option than withdrawing their services.
In the circular to all their branches with the title “Notice of Industrial Action”, which was signed by the Chairman of JAC and President of SSANU, Samson Ugwoke and the General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, the two unions lamented the delay in obeying court judgment.
The circular read: “This is to inform you that the Joint Action Committee, JAC of NASU and SSANU met today, Thursday 1st August, 2019, to consider the issues which led to the nationwide protest in our various branches, viz, Payment of Earned Allowances, University Staff Schools matter, Renegotiation of 2009 FGN/Unions Agreement among others.
“After extensive deliberations, JAC further observed that: No date has been rescheduled by the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Senator Ahmed Lawan for the meeting with the national leadership of JAC.
“The meeting earlier scheduled by the Federal Ministry of Education with the leadership of JAC national has been rescheduled for Wednesday, August 7, 2019 with no reason(s) stated.
“From the foregoing, JAC national has resolved as follows: that a 14-Day ultimatum of Industrial action be given to the federal government of Nigeria to address the pending issues with effect from Monday, 5th August, 2019.
“During the period of the ultimatum, all branches are hereby directed to carry out peaceful protest on Tuesday, 6th August, 2019 and Thursday, 15th August,2019 respectively.
“At the expiration of the 14-days ultimatum, Sunday 18th August 2019, without any positive response from the Federal Government of Nigeria, members shall proceed on a 5-day warning strike in all branches from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd August, 2019, inclusive.
“You are therefore directed to properly mobilise our members for this action. All defaulting branches shall be sanctioned accordingly.”
After the threat to proceed on strike, the senate president, organised a meeting with the unions to resolve the contentious issues, but the meeting could not hold.
The date scheduled coincided with the day members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria had embarked on a protest for the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
Though, leaders of the union waited for the senate president for a rescheduled meeting in Abuja for many days, no information was given to them on that.