Some varsity teachers are being owed between 15 and 16 months’ salaries, the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), claimed on Sunday.
The varsity teachers accused the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) of deliberately frustrating the lecturers to a point of desperation in order to capture them on the controversial Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) of the government.
ASUU’s continued rejection of the payroll system led to the introduction of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS). It was developed by the university lecturers.
ASUU President Prof Biodun Ogunyemi said the OAGF refusal to pay his colleagues amounted to a violation of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) ASUU signed with the government last December before it called of its nine-month strike.
He said: “On the government side they will say they have paid all the arrears but you can’t say you have paid all the arrears when some of our members are still being owed. Where that is happening, we cannot agree that the government has paid all the arrears.
“Our members are still being owed. We are still tracking the payment; they have been done in bits but as of today we still have some of our members, pockets of our members on our campuses that are not yet paid.
“In fact, some of our members have not been paid their salaries for 15 – 16 months. We have members who have not been paid for fifteen to sixteen months. Some of them who went on sabbatical they don’t pay them and they are pushing them to the point of desperation, as a way of capturing them on IPPIS.
“We see that as a violation of our Memorandum of Action which was signed in December, 2020: that our members will be paid their salaries through hybrid platform until we finalise the integrity test on UTAS.
“What the consultant to IPPIS has been doing is to instigate the Accountant-General’s office to threaten our members that they will not be paid if they don’t register on IPPIS. Those of our members who made inquiries and went as far as Office of the Accountant- General of the Federation told them point-blank that they will not be paid unless they register on IPPIS.
“We are collating information on that and we are prepared to take it to the highest level in the land before we consider what is to be done about what the AGF and the consultant on IPPIS are doing to our members.
“Denying workers their salaries is a punishment and it violates all known trade union laws that we know. If people can be denied their salaries for fifteen to sixteen months because they don’t want to succumb to the pressure (of registering on IPPIS), our union will consider the best way to handle them after taking everything to all the appropriate levels.
“The same thing with the check off deductions. We have seen that the AGF office is withholding the check of deductions of our members. Although we have been advised to compile all of those and send to the appropriate government quarters which we have done the first time but because many were left out we are doing it again.
“We are engaging government agents on all of these and we hope that a stop will be put to this hide and seek game being played by both the Accountant General as well as the consultant to IPPIS.”
Ogunyemi also lamented the slow pace of progress on UTAS by the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA).
The ASUU leader said: “We are also complaining to the government about the slow pace of NITDA in finalising the integrity test on UTAS.
“If we had an understanding that the process will be completed as fastly as possible, we suspect that the IPPIS consultants are putting pressure or they are discouraging the finalisation of UTAS so that they can continue to put our members for the platform that we have rejected.”