By Emma Arubi
WARRIâ€”Delta State University, Abraka chapter of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) said yesterday that the strike embarked upon by its members would not be called off until the government adhered to the legitimate agreement signed with the union on February 13, 2009.
The Union further cautioned the Education Minister, Dr. Sam Egwu, over alleged unguarded statement asking the unions to happily accept the 20% and 40% increment unilaterally awarded by government to the striking workers.
According to the union, the ministerâ€™s statement is a ploy by the government to introduce a divide and rule tactics in the university system, but expressed joy that the approach failed.
The union also appealed to students not to see the action as intended to punish them, but designed to bring government to take urgent steps that would make Nigerian university degree acceptable and competitive anywhere in the world.
Chairman of SSANU, Comrade Stephen Erubrenyo, made these remarks at Abraka in an exclusive interview with Vanguard, said the union opted for strike because re-course to court would certainly fail and lead nowhere.
According to him, the government and its officials are very comfortable with the strike that has kept students in tertiary institutions in the country at home for more than three months now because non-of their wards is in schools in Nigeria.
Comrade Erubrenyo described the action of the government as most ungentlemanly and disappointing, as the Deacon Gamaliel Onosode â€“led government team promised them that the agreement reached with them was going to be binding on government.
Stating reasons the strike would not be called off, the union leader said it was most disheartening that instead of government setting up machinery to implement the content of the agreement signed on February 13, 2009 by both parties, it was rather requesting requesting the unions to go back and re-negotiate with their various councils, insisting that the action was in bad faith.
He wondered why government wasted almost two years negotiating with them, if it knew it was not prepared to honour any agreement entered into with them.
He maintained that they would not call off the industrial action until the government is seen to be ready to implement the signed collective agreement.