…Govt’s difficult to trust says Labour
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THERE are indications that the Federal Government may have agreed to implement the demands of the non teaching staff unions in the Universities that necessitated the issuance of the 14-days Ultimatum so as to avert the planned shutdown of the nation’s ivory towers.
The Joint Action Committee, JAC, comprising the Non Academic Staff Union of Universities and Educational institutions, NASU and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU had issued a 14-Day Ultimatum to the Federal Government last week to either address their grievances or they will embark on total and indefinite strike.
The Ultimatum was supposed to expire on 19th August.
Among the contentious areas included the Earned Allowances which the non teaching staff unions claimed that they were shortchanged in the sharing formula. They said that out of the N23 billion released to the four unions in the university, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, allegedly took over about eighty percent of the money, leaving only twenty percent for the three unions.
They also lamented the inability of the government to obey court judgment especially the judgment of the Industrial Court in 2016 that directed government to reinstate sacked workers of Staff Schools which has not been complied with and the re-negotiation of the 2009 agreement.
In what may be described as a proactive measure the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Ochono last week summoned the leaders of the two unions under the umbrella of JAC at the ministry’s headquarters, Abuja, to discuss the problems in a bid to find a lasting solution.
Vanguard reliably gathered that the Federal Government through the Permanent Secretary alongside the Directors in the ministry promised to implement the three contentious issues.
In an interview with Vanguard, Chairman of JAC and President of SSANU, Comrade Samson Ugwoke said that the government has promised to address the issues by reversing the status quo in the sharing of the Earned Allowances, bring back the sacked workers of the University Staff Schools who are still alive and also begin renegotiation of the 2009 agreement with the unions.
But a member of the JAC and General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi said that despite the decisions reached at the meeting, it was difficult to trust government when it comes to keeping agreements.
However, JAC Chairman, Ugwoke said, “We had a meeting convened by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education over our 14-Day Ultimatum for government to implement all our demands or else by 19th of August we proceed on one week total and comprehensive warning strike.