The Joint Action Committee, the umbrella body for the striking non-teaching workers in Nigerian universities, said on Saturday that it had written fresh letters to the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Labour, notifying the Federal Government of its resolve not to suspend its 75-day strike unless its agitations were met.
The JAC President, Samson Ugwuoke, who confirmed this in an interview on Saturday, noted that the letters were dispatched to the ministries on Friday.
He explained that since February 2 when the unions met with the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, the government had yet to invite the unions for any negotiation.
It was learnt that apart from the February 2 meeting, which ended in a deadlock, the union leaders could also not meet with the Ministry of Labour on February 7 as the negotiation was postponed due to undisclosed reasons by the ministry officials.
The JAC comprises the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, the National Association of Academic Technologists and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities.
Ithat it was heading for the court on Monday (tomorrow) to sue the police and the Department of State Services for alleged harassment of its union leaders in Enugu and Lagos states.
The non-academic staff, under the JAC, began an indefinite strike on December 4, 2017, due to the alleged non-implementation of the agreements they entered into with the Federal Government in 2009 and 2017.
It was learnt that the contentious issues are the earned allowances of N23bn released by the Federal Government to the universities’ workers around November 2017 in which the three non-teaching unions got “only 11 per cent.”
The JAC said it was not satisfied with such sharing formula, demanding that the Federal Government release more funds to the unions to cover the allowances.
Another issue is the disagreement on the funding of the over 200 staff schools in universities.
JAC President, Ugwuoke, said on Saturday that it obtained a judgment from the National Industrial Court, stating that the staff schools must be funded by the government and their staff included on the universities’ payrolls.
He added that another issue was the shortfall in salaries, noting that the unions had resolved not to suspend the strike after two months since “no tangible commitments” had been made by the ministries of education and labour.
Ugokwe stated, “The Ministry of Education invited us on February 2 and we had a meeting with the minister. He explained to us that the government was still making efforts to get the money for the earned allowances. The minister said he accepted that the sharing of the N23bn was wrongly done and he apologised for our being short-changed.”