The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it will not hesitate to embark on a fresh strike if the Federal Government fails to address the union’s grievances.
The union said that despite agreeing not to victimise ASUU members for participating in the nine-month strike which ended on December 24, 2020, the Federal Government has been doing the opposite by withholding salaries of some lecturers for up to 10 months.
Chairman of the University of Ibadan (UI) branch of the union, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.
He disclosed that lecturers in the university were being owed salaries ranging between two and 10 months.
Akinwole said that while the lecturers have upheld their own side of the bargain by returning to classrooms, their productivity could be seriously affected if the Federal Government continued to withhold their salaries and fail to refund deducted check-off dues.
According to the union leader, more than 100 lecturers in UI were being owed salaries.
“On December 23, 2020, ASUU conditionally suspended (with effect from 12:01 am on Thursday, December 24, 2020) its nine-month-old strike, which it began in March 23, 2020, owing to the failure of the Federal Government to address the outstanding issues, as outlined in the collective bargaining agreements of 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2019 freely reached and signed between the government and ASUU.
“The suspension of the strike was based on an agreement reached and a ‘Memorandum of Action’ signed in good faith between the government and the ASUU at a stakeholders’ meeting on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. A common position agreed upon (and expected to be respected) by the government and ASUU was that ‘Nobody shall be victimised in any way whatsoever for his/her role in the process leading to the Memorandum of Action’.
“The agreement reached on December 22, 2020 imposed some obligations on both the government and ASUU. On the part of ASUU, the union undertakes to go back to the classrooms, laboratories, workshops, workstations, among others, to do the best for the students and the country.
“The government at both Federal and state is to sincerely fulfill its own part of the bargain, a major part which is the ‘No Victimisation’ clause. While ASUU as a union and its members as individuals in various branches have remained faithful to this agreement by returning to classes and performing their respective duties, the Federal Government, true to type, has reneged on its part.
“Contrary to Federal Government’s affirmation of its commitment to pay all withheld salaries of ASUU members who have not enrolled into the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information system (IPPIS), three months after the suspension of strike, thousands of ASUU members across various branch are still being owed salaries,” Akinwole’s statement read in part.
The statement further read, “Instead of deploying the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) software developed by ASUU, which has been adjudged effective for payment of salaries, some of our members who are still being denied their salaries and others are being coerced by agents of government to register on the repressive IPPIS for payment of salaries.
“The ASUU and its members are made to suffer from all the aforementioned attacks by the Federal Government while the public expects our members, some of who now live on the charity of family members and colleagues for survival to use their personal resources to discharge their duties diligently in the universities.
“These harsh conditions would have terrible consequences on public tertiary education in Nigeria and when push eventually comes to shove, as it definitely will in no distant future, the Nigerian public should accordingly blame the Federal Government for its insincerity. Blame the Federal Government of Nigeria if the universities are shut down again.”