University union to begin strike thursday over unpaid salary arrears

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) have threatened to ground activities on campuses nationwide from Thursday except the federal government pays the withheld salary arrears of their members.

SSANU said this in a communique at the end of its 48 regular National Executive Council meeting at the University of Benin and signed by its President, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim.

On June 20, 2024, the university workers, through a letter addressed to the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, gave the government a two-week ultimatum to pay the salary arrears.

In the letter jointly signed by NASU General Secretary, Prince Peters Adeyemi and Ibrahim, the unions accused the government of neglect and insincerity.

SSANU, in its communique on Tuesday in Abuja, said despite all promises by the Ministers of Education and Labour, including the House of Representatives to pay the arrears, the federal government has continued to “dribble SSANU, even after the mutual agreement to suspend the one-week warning strike in March this year.”

Minister of State for Education, Dr Tanko Sununu promised to respond to the report when he was contacted.

“NEC in session once again expresses utmost dismay at the unprecedented level of Government’s insensitivity and deliberate resolve to cause chaos in the university system by adopting the divide and rule policy to set unions on a collision course through preferential treatment of one union over others.

Recall that SSANU and other unions were compelled by the government to embark on strike in 2022 over the government’s refusal to honour a collective Bargaining Agreement willingly signed by all parties. At the end of the strike, the then Buhari Government further signed an elaborate agreement among which was the non victimisation clause.

“However, the government made a selective payment of the withheld salaries. While we do not begrudge the payment made to our colleagues, we expected the same gesture to be extended to SSANU and NASU which legally complied with all procedures before embarking on the Industrial action. Despite all promises and media hypes by the Ministers of Education and Labour, including the House of Representatives to pay these arrears, the government has continued to dribble SSANU, even after the mutual agreement to suspend the one-week warning strike in March this year.

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