Fresh Strike Looms In Varsities As Lecturers Give FG Two Weeks Ultimatum To Pay Withheld Salaries - EDU-BIZNEWS


Thursday, May 16, 2024

Fresh Strike Looms In Varsities As Lecturers Give FG Two Weeks Ultimatum To Pay Withheld Salaries


Fresh strike is looming in public universities in Nigeria, following a threat by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who have given President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's administration two weeks ultimatum to pay  the withheld three and half months salaries or face industrial action 

ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke who issued the threat on Thursday while featuring on a live programme on Channels Television monitored by Edu-Biznews, says "it is unfair for the Federal Government to pay lecturers four months of their 2022 withheld salaries and hold on to that of three-and-half months".

“It’s not about paying four months out of the seven-and-half months’ withheld salaries,” Osodeke decried 

He argued that public universities in the country have so far covered the work for the period that they were on strike in 2022 and should be duly paid.

“Every university in Nigeria today are in the 2023/2024 academic year which means that by September/October, they will be in the 2024/2025 academic year. The implication of this is that all the work for which we were not paid when we were on strike, we have covered them by making sacrifices.

“None of our members have gone on leave in the past three to four years, we have not gone on vacation so that we can cover the work that we didn’t do while we were on strike which we have covered. You can check, ask the students. But when you said you are paying four out of seven-and-half, I don’t think you are being fair to us,” the ASUU president stated, adding that the two-week ultimatum to the government began on May 13, 2024. 

It will be recalled that In 2022, academic and non-academic unions in Nigeria embarked on an eight-month strike to press home some of their demands including a better welfare package. 

The administration of then President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently invoked a ‘no work, no pay policy’ against the unions but President Bola Tinubu, in October 2023, approved the release of four of the about eight months withheld salaries.

ASUU members were paid four months of the withheld salaries while members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) were not paid at all. The two non-academic unions were on strike earlier in March while Education Minister Tahir Mamman said the government would consider half pay for them.

Osodeke said ASUU members must be fully paid for the entire period of the industrial action in 2022. He submitted that the Tinubu administration has not done lecturers any favours by clearing four of their about eight months’ withheld salaries.

ASUU members protest at the University of Ibadan on Monday, November 28, 2022
‘FG Awards Road Contracts Worth Trillions Yet Fails To Pay Us ₦200bn’

Osodeke said if the Federal Government can award road contracts worth trillions, billions for university workers should not be a problem

“We don’t want to hear that ‘we don’t have money’ because if a government can award contract of ₦15 or ₦13 trillion naira to construct a road and we are asking for just ₦200bn for Nigerian universities, all of them. If they (the government) have that money (for road construction), they should have money for us.

“Pay the three-and-half months’ salaries that are still being withheld having completed the work. It’s ‘no work, no pay’, we have done the work, they should pay us if not we will also bring the theory of ‘no pay, no work’,” he said.

The ASUU president lamented that many lecturers are leaving the country because they are not well remunerated. “A lecturer still earns about $300. it was $1500 when we negotiated the agreement in 2009,” he said.

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