The protesting members of Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) have given an indication of a more prolonged nationwide strike, beyond the recently suspended 10 months old strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
As NASU and SSANU members started a nationwide protest across all the universities on Tuesday, the General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi, said the non-teaching staff can go for one year strike; as they have the capacity to do so.
Speaking on the vex issue of the N40 billion earned allowance released by the Federal Government and its lopsided sharing formula to the four university-based unions, Comrade Adeyemi said the varsity workers, who are currently, protesting will not be preaching sermons but fight the injustice.
After signing agreements with all the unions following prolonged negotiations, the Federal Government had released N40 billion for the part payment of their Earned Allowance with a sharing formula of 75 per cent (N30billion) to ASUU and 25 per cent (N10billion) to the other three unions – NASU, SSANU and NAAT.
Comrade Adeyemi said their members are vehemently angry and warned that the sharing formula won’t guarantee industrial peace in the university system, even though the government had asked schools to resume on January 18, 2021.
The NASU General Secretary said: “The trade union is not supposed to be an organization that would pretend about anything, the trade union is supposed not only to show but to practice, to demonstrate with actions when injustice has been perpetrated and not to be preaching sermon.
“We are not going to preach a sermon, we will do a press statement, we will do everything but heaven help those who help themselves. If ASUU can do 10 months strike, what stops the non-teaching staff from doing one year strike.”
He pointed out that since 2013, whenever the Federal Government made a release of Earned Allowance, the chunk of the money has always gone to ASUU at the detriment of the other three unions.
He said: “If you had followed very carefully, the biggest chunk of all the releases had always gone to ASUU. So, mathematically, it would have been said that because they have been receiving a big chunk of what had been released by the government, what is due to them should have substantially been defrayed.
“It couldn’t even have made any sense to just allocate three-quarter of the N40billion to them, and then left the three unions with N10billion. That is not going to guarantee industrial peace, our members are vehemently angry.”
Comrade Adeyemi added: “This sarcastic way of allocating the amount without using subsisting records or the outcome of the forensic report is not likely to guarantee the sustainability of industrial peace in the system because the computation was done for these arrears of Earned Allowances over a period of time.
“From there we have also been making this agitation- please incorporate or factor this Earned Allowance into the annual budget so that from this year, you pay the Earned Allowance with the workers’ salaries so you don’t continue to accumulate arrears.”
He said the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of NASU and SSANU, would not stop the universities from resuming if they have a way out but will definitely show their anger in a trade union way and fight the injustice.
According to him, “these non-teaching staff will not say the school should not resume, of course, we are going to fight the injustice. So, if the NUC circular says resume on the 18, and the Federal Government has the magic wand to correct this anomaly before 18, the school goes on. If it doesn’t, we will show our anger in the usual way.”