JAC Suspends Strike, As FG Shops For N8bn To Pay EA By Williams Wodi

Non-Teaching Staff of the University returned to their desks and laboratories on Monday, March 19, 2018, after  walking off the job on December 4, 2017 to press home their demand for payment of their Earned Allowance. The returning staff who complied with the order of their union leaders to proceed on an indefinite industrial action belong to the Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (NASU).

The local branches of the three unions held a joint meeting on Friday, March 16, 2018 to formally suspend the strike action as directed by their national executive. Acting Chairman of SSANU, Mr. Benard Chukwu, briefed members of the three unions on the provisional agreement reached with government at an emergency meeting held at the Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium.

He expressed gratitude to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale and other Principal Officers for their understanding during the strike period, appealing to staff to promptly clear their desks and set agenda for the rest of the academic year. “We appeal to our members to return to work immediately and clear their desk and also wish to use this opportunity to promise that plans have reached advanced stages to disburse the money that was allocated to our members last December,” Mr. Chukwu said.  

The national leadership of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) had protested what it described as non-implementation of aspects of the 2009 agreement between the Federal Government and the three unions in all federal universities.

The strike action was suspended on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, following a provisional agreement which committed the Federal Government to sourcing N8 billion within five weeks to pay the contentious Earned Allowance to members of the three aggrieved Non-Teaching unions. Part of the money will be used to pay the outstanding allowances of the Academic Staff Union of University of Nigeria, Nsukka and University of Ilorin which were inexplicably omitted in the original allocation.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige and the union leaders reached the resolution to suspend the three-month old strike at a reconciliation meeting in Abuja at which the JAC leaders tabled their grievances.  The final truce suspending the strike action was jointly signed by the SSANU President, Samson Ugwoke, NAAT President, Sani Suleiman, NASU General Secretary, Peter Adeyemi, while the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah signed on behalf of the government.

Part of the agreement mandated the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission to rework the contentious Call Circular of December 2017 with respect to staff schools on which the National Industrial Court had already passed judgment. The Minister assured the union leaders that no worker would be victimised for participating in the prolonged strike action that paralysed administrative and laboratory activities in federal universities for over three months.

Dr. Ngige also disclosed that the Office of the Accountant-General had already commenced action on the payment of salary shortfalls, assuring the unions that his Ministry would ensure full compliance with the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit requirements aimed at facilitating payment of JAC members in universities that are yet to comply.

The Minister disclosed that his Ministry had already made recommendations to the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation on the issue of CONTISS 14 and 15 for technologists, hoping that the issue would be addressed within the stipulated five-week deadline.

He also promised that Visitation Panels would soon be constituted to scrutinise the tenure of past university administrations, while plans were on to release White Papers on previous panels reports for the good governance of the universities.


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