The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities have accused the Federal Government of discrimination among university workers, warning that such a situation might further cripple the university system.
The Unions under the aegis of Joint Action Committee, South-South Zone at end of a three day National Protest in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, said universities have four unions and for the system to function effectively, all the unions and segments must be recognised and carried along.
National Vice President of SSANU, Cheta Ugochukwu Azuma, said the unions are not comfortable with the situation in Nigerian universities as the FG has neglected some workers.
Recall that the unions had embarked on a nationwide protest to reject the sharing formula of the N30billion given to the universities as earned allowances for all university workers by the Government.
Azuma who described the sharing formula as a divisive arrangement capable of causing disunity among the unions said, saying issues concerning the non-academic staff are not being taken seriously by the Federal Government.
“The Federal Government is not doing what is appropriate. The university system has four unions and for the university system to function well, all the unions and segments must be recognized and carried along.
“The government has shown irresponsibility and irrational behaviour towards the welfare of staff of the university system. Worst still is the dichotomy they are trying to create, the kind of divide and rule system they are trying to create in the university system. We are saying no to that.
“On the 20th of October, 2020, the Joint Negotiating team of SSANU and NASU had a Memorandum of Understanding MoU), with the Federal Government which was mid-wifed by Ministers of Labour and Employment as well as Education. They came up with a seven-point agreement and the Federal Government has relented in implementing them.
“They told us that the thirty billion naira being released was for Earned Allowances for all university workers but today we are shocked to hear of 75 per cent for academic staff and 25 per cent for Nonacademic staff.
“We had expected that FG would allow the various councils and university bursary units that knows what each staff (both academic and non-academic) earns, to work out what is due to everyone, but with a situation whereby you stay there and come up with a sharing formula of 75 per cent to ASUU and 25 per cent to all the non-teaching staff (SSANU, NASU and NAAT) put together, we are saying no to such situation, that arrangement is totally unacceptable to us,” Azuma stated.
He frowned on what he termed the inconsistency in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), lamenting that workers have been severely shortchanged.
“We have witnessed inconsistency in the IPPIS payment system where earned allowances of the various workers were unjustly removed and we are pressing home that the IPPIS unit should do the needful and hence they fail to do what is appropriate, we have no other option than to reject it entirely, he added.
Azuma further said the unions are also protesting the non-renegotiation of 2009, MOU, which according to him was long overdue, non-payment of gratuity to retirees if the unions, and taking over of non-academic staff position by academic staff in the universities across the country.
Azuma said the unions would embark on industrial action if the government did not respond to their demands.