Fresh Strike Looms In Varsities Over N40bn Earned Allowance - EDU-BIZNEWS


Monday, January 4, 2021

Fresh Strike Looms In Varsities Over N40bn Earned Allowance

Fresh strike seems to be looming in public universities in Nigeria, as workers, under the aegis of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), threatened to ground activities on campuses over their perceived disparity in sharing formular of the N40billion Earned Allowance between the Academic and Non-Academic Staff.

Edu-Biznews recalled that the Academic Staff Union of Universities  last December 24, suspended its nine months old strike over the non payment of the Earned Allowances among other demands, to ensure proper funding of public universities by government.

But President of NAAT ,Ibeji Nwokoma  in its protest on Sunday in Abuja, gave the Federal Government 14-day strike notice to address the issue  raised in the sharing formular of the N40billion to be released by the government , to avoid  another round of industrial action in public universities.

"We have given government 14 days. We wrote to the government on December 30. And we have given government 14 working days and if at the end of the 14 working days our demands are not met, we will resume our suspended strike", the union threatened.

“We will close down the schools; there will be no opening of schools. If anybody thinks that ASUU has called off the strike and that schools will reopen, then let the person dare us. Let us know how effective or how possible it is for schools to reopen when technologists are on strike.

NAAT along side , two other unions – the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) – are protesting the alleged allocation of 75 per cent to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and 25 per cent to them from the N40 billion allowance.

The university workers are protesting the disparity in sharing the N40 billion earned allowance released to the four university-based unions.

The workers are insisting on the government to release 50 per cent of the N71 billion accrued allowance owed members of the union, based on the 2009 agreement reached with the government.

NAAT President  addressing newsmen  in Abuja , said that the union had written to the Minister Of Labour and Employment Generation, Dr. Chris Ngige about their intention to embark on the  industrial action.

 “We have written to the government that NAAT as a body ought to have been given a specified percentage of the N40 billion. You must define it. You can’t just say ASUU 75 per cent and others 25 per cent. Let us know the specific percentage you are giving to NAAT as a union".

 Nwokoma  explained that government had not implemented the agreement contained in the MOU on the exact percent to be given to each of the four unions in the University system out the N40billion Earned Allowance..
“In the MoU we entered with the government on November 18, in item number 2b, we demanded that in sharing of the N40 billion released, that government should clearly define what is going to be allocated to each union and government agreed to the genuineness of our demands and said NUC and Federal Ministry of Education would work it out in conjunction with the union. And what they have done negates completely the spirit of that MoU"

“If the government, in its wisdom, has said ASUU should take N30 billion from the N40 billion released, it is not the business of my union. But we have also told the government that the arrears accruable to my union since 2009 to 2020, they have paid up to 2012, is N71 billion and we have demanded 50 per cent of that amount and we have also given government ultimatum of 14 days, if the government fails to do that, we will call out our members on strike. Nobody has a monopoly of closing or opening of universities with strike. We have said that repeatedly.”

Also speaking, the SSANU President Mohammed Ibrahim expressed concern over the government’s failure to honour agreements with the union

 “My members and, by extension, all other categories of workers in Nigerian tertiary institutions are disappointed and disenchanted by this singular act of government’s refusal to honour its promise to pay the arrears of the New National Minimum Wage that was approved by the government since April 2020.”

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