No Response from FG Despite our Strike Clocking One Month, SSANU Bemoans

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has described as sad and unfortunate the failure of the federal government to acknowledge its one-month-old industrial action.

Dating back to over six months, the SSANU bemoaned that the federal government has never acknowledged or responded to its notice of strike, repeated letters and reminders, even commencement of an initial warning strike on March 27 up until embarking on a one-month strike on April 11.

Addressing journalists at end of the union’s meeting held at the University of Ibadan, on Wednesday, National Vice President (West), SSANU, Dr Abdussobur Salaam, bemoaned the disconnectedness of both the Federal Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour from its agitation dating back to the FGN/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreements.

Pointing to the four different collective bargaining agreements signed with the government including the most recent memorandum of understanding signed on 20th October, 2020 and the Memorandum of Action signed on Thursday 20th February, 2021, SSANU attributed the present strike to the failure of the government to uphold its pledges in the collective bargaining agreements.

Salaam stressed that the union’s agitations remained the problem of inconsistencies in payment with IPPIS, non-payment of earned allowances, nonpayment of arrears of consequential adjustment of national minimum wage, poor funding of state universities, delay in the negotiation of the 2009 agreements, non-release of white paper of visitation panels, usurpation of the headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures, non-payment of retirement benefits to outgone members.

While bemoaning that the federal government had resolved to stop its salaries for continuing the strike, Salaam said SSANU remained unrelenting in having the federal government fulfil the memorandum of action and memorandum of understanding reached with the union.

Salaam said: “For over six months, we gave notice of strike, repeated letters and reminders were communicated without any acknowledgement. We embarked on a two-week warning strike, no response. We extended it by two weeks, yet no response either from the employer, the Ministry of Education or the conciliator’s office at the Ministry of Labour. Nothing can be as sad and unfortunate.

“Within the last five years, no less than four different collective bargaining agreements have been signed with the government. These include the recent memorandum of understanding signed on 20th October, 2020 and the Memorandum of Action signed on Thursday 20th February, 2021, where the government gave commitment and pledged resolution of the various issues affecting our universities and inter-university centres. The failure of the government to keep up with the commitment and uphold its pledges in the collective bargaining agreements it freely entered into, is what has led to this industrial action.

“Leaving our jobs to embark on a strike is not a pleasurable experience for us, especially not that our salaries have been stopped. But, when we are dealing with a government that is not listening, we must find all means of drawing attention to our plight.

“We have found ourselves in this sorry and unfortunate path because of the insensitivity and wickedness of those who purport to lead us. Their actions especially in respect of our educational system, particularly the universities, have only revealed their true colours as a parasitic, opportunistic and selfish group whose interests are only in what favours them and not the interests of the people on whose mandates they claim to hold offices.

“If not so, how would all the four university-based unions embark on different strikes over similar and dissimilar issues and our rulers would sit pretty, sipping tea in their air-conditioned offices, today unconcerned about the agitations in our ivory towers? Their total disconnectedness is what led NASU and SSANU to embark on a two weeks warning strike with no acknowledgement or response from the government. Believing that the two weeks warning was not sufficient for our agitations to be paid attention to, it was extended by another two weeks and now a month and yet, no acknowledgement or indication of awareness that anything is amiss. What an insensitive and wicked government!

“The strike has antecedents dating as far as FGN/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreements. Following the 2009 agreements, agitations by the two unions had led to various collective bargaining agreements signed with the government. Within the last five years, no less than four different collective bargaining agreements have been signed with the government.

“These include the recent memorandum of understanding signed on 20th October, 2020 and the Memorandum of Action signed on Thursday 20th February, 2021, where the government gave commitment and pledged resolution of the various issues affecting our universities and inter-university centres. The failure of the government to keep up with the commitment and uphold its pledges in the collective bargaining agreements it freely entered into, is what has led to this industrial action.”

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