The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Non-Teaching Unions has expressed dissatisfaction at the Prof. Nimi Briggs-led Committee Report submitted to the Federal Government for approval.
The JAC non-teaching unions include the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions (NASU).
JAC Chairman, Mr Peters Adeyemi made this known at a news conference on Friday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SSANU and NASU had embarked on strike for over four months over non-implementation of agreement reached with the unions.
The Briggs Committee was constituted in March by the Federal Government to oversee the negotiations with the four university-based unions and the committee had submitted its report over a month ago.
Adeyemi, who is also NASU General Secretary, alleged that the unions were aggrieved that Briggs-led committee’s negotiations processes were biased and their members were not dully involved.
He said that NASU and SSANU had only two meetings with the Briggs committee since it was constituted.
According to him, it was shocking to say the least that while we have not even commenced discussions on salary review and other allowances.
“We received reports that the committee had gone ahead to submit a report to the Federal Government recommending a 10 per cent increase for Non-Teaching Unions.
“We find the committee as not being transparent and open so far, ’’he said.
He said after the first meeting, the two unions – NASU and SSANU independently were compelled to create the impression that the committee appeared not to have had its mandates clearly spelt out by the government.
The JAC chairman noted that the two meetings held with the Briggs committee with the unions, there were no deliberations on salary increment and allowances.
“While the NASU and SSANU teams had presented Memorandum of Demands that included proposal for salary review along with appropriate salary tables.
“The committee had pleaded that the two unions should take the issue of review of salaries and allowances last.
“This is because we were still interfacing with the relevant government agencies to give them appropriate offers to counter our proposals on salary review, ’’he said.
He therefore said that it should be stated clearly that SSANU and NASU rejected any salary recommendation that would cause further disparity in the university system.
Adeyemi added that there was already an existing disparity in the system, “which we had always closed our eyes to”.
He said to expand that disparity would be “an invitation to the greatest level of anarchy and industrial unrest ever witnessed in the university system.”
He however urged NITDA to accelerate the processing and come up with its findings in order to lay to rest the contentious issues of a viable and enduring payment platform best suited for the Nigerian University system, ’’ he said.
He further stated that it was not the desire of NASU and SSANU to ground the system but was compelled by alleged ill treatment on the university system.
He noted that as of today, out of the eight issues that led to the strike, none of them had been conclusively addressed by government.
“Arrears of Consequential Adjustments on Minimum Wage have only been partially paid, as in many universities, we still have many members who have not been paid,” he said.
Adeyemi said that the Federal Universities of Agriculture had been totally left out as no arrears of earned allowances had been paid.
According to him, white Papers on Visitation Panels have not been released. Staff School teachers continue to languish despite a court judgment in their favour.
“Our jobs continue to be usurped by Vice-Chancellors as job for the boys and allocated to Academic Staff.
“State universities have been badly hit by poor funding, poor governance and non-payment of salaries to workers spanning into months,’’ he said.
He said that JAC of NASU and SSANU were determined to change the status quo..
“We remain undaunted and undeterred in the face of our salaries that have been stopped and threats issued to the unions from various quarters,’’ he said.
He also commended the Nigeria Labour Congress for its various interventions in ensuring resolution of the matter. (NAN)