Another round of crisis that may lead to another strike is looming in the public universities over the alleged inability of the Federal Government to conclude re-negotiations with the university-based unions on the 2009 Agreement.
This is as the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU has lamented that it has lost so many of its members as a result of the failure of the government to pay the four months of withheld salaries during the strike period.
Recall that the government was unable to meet the demands of the four university-based unions, SSANU, ASUU, NASU, and NAAT, who shut down public universities last year.
On February 14, 2022, ASUU withdrew its services precisely. After several weeks, NAAT, SSANU, and NASU followed.
While SSANU and NASU ended their strike in August of last year after reaching a settlement with the Federal Government, ASUU persisted until the National Industrial Court intervened and ordered the lecturers on strike to return to their jobs in October.
As the federal government’s lawsuit against ASUU is still pending in court, Vanguard has reliable information that another round of unrest is building in the universities over the federal government’s claimed failure to wrap up negotiations with the unions on the 2009 Agreement.
The SSANU urged the prompt continuation and completion of the 2009 Agreement’s re-negotiation in a statement during its 42nd Regular National Executive Council, NEC, meeting, which was sponsored by the University of Calabar in Cross River State.
The sooner we finalise this re-negotiation and sign a new agreement, the better for the university system, said Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, national president of SSANU.
The SSANU had stated in the communiqué that “NEC in session is extremely irritated by the Federal Government’s lackadaisical and aloof attitude toward the long-standing issue of renegotiating the 2009 Agreement.
The Agreement has been up for renegotiation for 12 years. This goes against the legally mandated five-year period of time for periodic evaluation. The way the Federal Government is handling the situation is really depressing and shocking.
“Despite SSANU’s willingness to make sure that this problem is swiftly resolved, we are deeply troubled by the government’s hesitation. NEC consequently urges that this exercise immediately resume and be finished without further delay because the terrible economic conditions brought on by the hyperinflation and its impact on employees have undermined the present Agreement’s content.
The president of the SSANU, Comrade Ibrahim, said it was unjust for the government to withhold members’ salaries for four months because the administration invoked the “no work, no pay” policy when the unions were on strike.