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University Unions threaten industrial action over alleged salary discrepancy

University unions are on the verge of initiating another round of industrial action, potentially disrupting academic activities. The cause of this unrest stems from the alleged decision by the Federal Government to pay the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) the four months of withheld salaries from the last strike, while excluding other staff unions.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC), representing the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), has voiced their discontent by writing a letter to the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajiabiamila, outlining the implications of this decision.

NASU and SSANU, the protesting unions, vehemently oppose their exclusion from the salary payment. In a leaked memo dated February 13, 2024, they warned that any disruption in the academic calendar resulting from this exclusion should not be attributed to them.

Expressing concern over the perceived injustice, the unions cautioned that the peaceful atmosphere currently experienced in universities and inter-university centers could be jeopardized. They urged the government to rectify the situation by ensuring parity in salary payments among all staff unions.

The memo, titled ‘Protest letter over the exclusion of non-teaching staff from the payment of outstanding four months salaries,’ was jointly signed by Prince Peters Adeyemi, General Secretary of NASU, and Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, President of SSANU.

The unions highlighted their disappointment with the alleged directive to release salaries exclusively to ASUU members, leaving out other unions such as SSANU, NASU, and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT). They emphasized the importance of fairness and equity in government decisions, particularly in matters affecting university staff.

The unions also referenced a previous statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, which suggested a waiver on the ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy for ASUU and other educational sector unions. They called for immediate attention to address the perceived unfair treatment of non-teaching staff, stressing the importance of justice and fairness in university environments.

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