By Chris Ochayi
Just as the nationâ€™s universities grapple with the industrial action declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) is set to start a total strike from next Monday.
Determined to collapse the universityâ€™s structure and bring all activities to a halt within the system, SSANU had directed all its members across universities to stay at home as from Monday.
SSANU, which took the decision after its National Executive Council meeting in Abuja, added that the strike, which would be total would start as a seven days warning strike after which it would go in full-scale and indefinite if the Federal Government refused to address their demands. It had demanded immediate implementation of the tripartite agreement reached between Labour, employers and the government by the Tripatite Committee set up by the government and headed by Dr. Gamaliel Onosode to look into their grievances.
President of SSANU, Promise Adewusi, who addressed journalists after the NEC meeting named the said â€œfrom 29 of this month, that is Monday, we will start a seven-day warning strike. It is going to be one week but total because all our members will withdraw their services and if after seven days nothing tangible comes from government on these issues including monetization, of course, we will be forced to go in a full scale strike, which will be indefinitely and total.
â€œI believe this government is a responsible one, and so no responsible government will want the system to be crash or want the breakdown of the system that is why I am positive that government would take steps to see that it remedies the situation within these days.
â€œBut I can assure you that unionism is not all about strike unless you are push and so if they push SSANU, that means the system is down because if all other persons in the university system are on strike and SSANU is not, then nothing will be felt but if SSANU went on strike, then definitely all the system would collapse.â€
The SSANU President kicked against the new inter-ministerial committee set up by the government to review the work and agreement reached by a tripartite group, insisting that this was clearly against the International Labour Organisation Convention.
The issues involved are the new salary negotiation, 65 years retirement age, the university autonomy, and the payment of 2003 to 2005 monitisation arrears.
He warned that this was not acceptable to them, couple with the fact that the association was not consulted before that decision was taken.
According to him, â€œat the last meeting, we had with him, he (Minister of Education) told us that government has finally set up an inter ministerial committee. We had earlier kicked against this before now in his own ministryâ€.
â€œWhat he did was to set up internal committee to harmonized all the agreement by the four unions, but now government had gone ahead to set-up an inter ministerial committee to review unilaterally the product of collected agreement and for us it is against all the conventions of ILO on collective bargaining because once a product comes as a result of a collective bargaining, then its became binding on the two parties except all the parties comes together to take a look at it but non of these things were put into consideration before taking their decision,â€ he added.