By Mike Adeyemi
The Non Academic Staff Union of University (NASU), and the Senior Staff Academic Union of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), University of Ilorin chapter have joined their colleagues across the country on a three days protest demanding that the Federal Government should respect the MoU signed with the unions.
Speaking with our reporter shortly after the protest, the Chairman, Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), University of Ilorin chapter, Subair Haruna Ibrahim said the Federal Government was insensitive to the plight of university workers.
According to him, “There is gross injustice on the part of the Federal Government over time as most of its earlier agreements with us has been defaulted.
“There was a directive from the national body of NASU that we should commence a three- day protest in agitating and demanding for our rights.
“You will recall that sometimes in October, 2020 the union went on two weeks warning strike to which we had a Memorandum of Understanding at the end of the strike entered into by the Federal Government with the leadership of both Non Academic staff union and the Senior Staff of Nigerian Universities.
“There was an understanding between the government and the unions at that period, parts of which was the inconsistency in the payment platform called IPPS.
“In 2014, the issue of IPPS came up. The government by itself designed it, showed it to us and we all agreed that with this platform, it would captured our university workers in terms of salaries and allowances.
“It was on that basis that the non teaching staff of Nigerian universities entered into it. In February, 2020 it was fully implemented and we all moved our former system of payment to IPPS.
“When we got to IPPS, we discovered that from the first salary, the allowances that each worker is entitled to were removed totally. Our tax was jack up from 50 per cent to 100 per cent and we were mandated to key into the National Housing Fund that we had not been part of before.
“We discovered that those who are earning certain amount of monies before has a reduction of 30 to 40 per cent. Some of our members up till now since February last year have not taken salary without no reason, “the union leader explained.
Continuing, “So with the Memorandum of Understanding, it was resolved that all these issues will be dealt with within two weeks since October, 2020.’
“But as I am talking with you now, the situation remains the same. And not only that alone. We are also demanding for our minimum wage arrears. The government promised that before December 31st last year it would be paid to our members, but as of today, there hasn’t been green light to that effect.
“The major part of it is the issue of earned allowances. Earned allowance is allowances earn by all members of staff. Since 2009 we have had this agreement with the Federal Government. The first tranche was released in 2011, 2017 while another one in 2019.
“The money released during ASUU strike belonged to university workers not only for ASUU. The Memorandum of Understanding stated that at the point of sharing, each union should have a representative at meeting with the Accountant General where it would be adequately shared.
“But just recently, we heard that a single union out of four unions in the university is dictating to the Federal Government that 75 per cent of that money has to come to them while the other three unions will now be having 25 per cent.
“We felt that this disparity is too much. And part of what we are agitating for is the N20 billon refertilisation for universities to be released. We are also agitating payment for some of our retired members who have not been paid with their entitlement since 2018. So these are parts of our agitation,” Ibrahim stressed.
In the same vein, the Chairman of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Unilorin chapter, Oyedepo Olumuyiwa bemoaned non- payment of arrears of the new minimum wage since 2019.
“You will recall that in 2019, the president approved minimum wage for federal workers and up till now we have not received the arrears of that minimum wage up till February, 2020.
“And times without number memo will come from the office of Accountant General that we should compute our arrears and send to them. We have done this up to four times now to no avail,” Oyedepo said.
By Mike Adeyemi