The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and Non Academic Staff Union on Friday urged the Federal Government to honour their 2009 agreement to avoid a total strike.
The Ahmadu Bello University branch of the two unions made their stand known while addressing a joint press briefing at SSANU secretariat, main campus, Samaru, Zaria, Kaduna State.
SSANU branch Chairman, Mr Iliyasu Abdur-Ra’uf-Bello said the five-day warning strike presently embarked upon by the two unions was as a result of the inability of the federal government to implement the 2009 union/Federal Government agreement.
“I have the pleasure to address the press on why SSANU and NASU are on a five-day warning strike, this is as a result of government inability to meet, implement or enforce the 2009 union/Federal Government agreement.
“This agreement was signed in 2009. Ten years into this agreement, we are still dilly-dallying, we are neither here nor there in the implementation of the content of this agreement.
“And the most worrisome aspect of it is that, recently, Federal Government released the sum of N25 billion to universities to defray part of outstanding earned allowances owed by government to the staff.”
The Chairman lamented that of the N25 billion released by the Federal Government to universities, only 20 per cent of it was given to the three non-teaching unions of Nigerian universities.
“Only 20 per cent of it, which translate to N5 billion was given to the three non-teaching staff unions in the universities, while ASUU was given 80 per cent which amounts to N20 billion.”
According to him, this singular action of government was not only embarrassing but insulting and unacceptable, adding that it was one of the reasons the warning strike was on.
Speaking on the position of staff schools, the Chairman recalled that in December 2016, there was a ruling at the National Industrial Court on the status of staff school as contained in the agreement the union signed with the Federal Government.
He said the court ruled in a favour of the union, saying that what was contained in the agreement between the union and the Federal Government should be upheld.
Abdur-Ra’uf-Bello said the ruling states that: the recurrent and the capital expenditure of University Staff School should be borne by the Federal Government, arguing that “up to today, three and half years into that, the Federal Government has refused to implement that ruling.”
The Chairman said the court also ruled that most of the members that had their appointment terminated in their various universities should be reinstated.
He, however, said several frantic efforts made by the union leaders to convince the government to direct the respective Vice Chancellors to reinstate the laid-off staff had not yielded any fruitful result.
The Chairman recalled that some few weeks back the union members had embarked on a protest by drawing their roadmap on how to carry out what he described as a strategic and organised protest.
Abdur-Ra’uf-Bello said they have started with protest and now resolved to go on five days warning strike, assuring that the next action would be an indefinite, extensive and total strike.