Education

NASU, SSANU Suspend Strike, Sign Agreement With FG

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In what is considered an interesting development, the leadership of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the non-teaching staff unions of universities has announced the suspension of its three-week strike which takes effect from, Friday, February 26, 2021.

This followed the signing of a Memorandum of Action with the Federal Government team led by Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, at a meeting on Thursday.

Recall both unions under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), commenced an indefinite strike on February 5, 2021.

Demands

The decision was necessitated by the Federal Government’s handling of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, sharing formula of the N40 billion earned academic allowances and non-payment of arrears of the new minimum wage.

Other issues are the non-payment of retirement benefits to former members, non-constitution of visitation panels to universities, poor funding of universities, teaching staff usurping the headship of non-teaching units, among others.

Strike Suspended

Speaking with journalists at the end of the meeting with the Federal Government team, NASU General Secretary, Peters Adeyemi, said the unions agreed to suspend the national strike after extracting some concessions from the government, adding that the union’s demand have been harmonised to the satisfaction of both parties.

He said: “So we have held the meeting with the government side and those areas that needed to be harmonised has been harmonised to the satisfaction of both parties and resulting from that development, we have agreed that the ongoing national strike in universities and inter universities centres should be suspended with effect from 12 midnight tomorrow which is Friday 26, February.

“We use this opportunity to appreciate our members for their commitment in this struggle, this strike is suspended and we are not mindful of the fact that we will continue to monitor the agreements that have been reached which has timeline and we hope that the FG we implement its own side of the bargain.

“If the FG doesn’t, we have no reason but to call our members to resume the suspended strike but for now, the strike is suspended with effect from 12 midnight of tomorrow February 26.”

‘All Rough Edges Straightened Out’

Meanwhile, Ngige described the deliberations as smooth, saying that all the rough edges in the former negotiation were straightened out.

“If you remember, this is about the fourth negotiation we are having on the matters brought by the Joint Action Committee of both unions, and today’s deliberation has been very fruitful.

“We have issued a conciliation document, a Memorandum of Action, and the two unions will get back to their members with the MOA. They have in good faith promised to revert to the government in the next 48 hours.

“So, we keep our fingers crossed, believing that their communication with their union members will be as quick and swift as they have promised us, more so when the government is desirous of the return of normal activities to the university system so that we can take the actions, one after the other,” he stated.

On the return of normalcy to the universities, Ngige said the government will follow up with the visitation panels which is one of the agreements reached with the unions.

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