—Threaten to proceed on strike
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA — NON-teaching Staff in the Universities have begged Nigerians to intervene on their behalf and plead with the Federal Government to pay them arrears of the minimum wage increment.
The unions also lamented that since they enrolled in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, they have been collecting half salaries.
The non-teaching staff under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee, JAC, on Thursday, threatened that they would resume strike action any time the Federal Government reopens schools unless the government meet all demands.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, Chairman of JAC and President of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Samson Ugwoke alongside the General Secretary of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, Peters Adeyemi lamented that despite series of letters by the Unions to IPPIS office since February 2020, their members were still confronted with several challenges as regards salary payments.
Comrade Ugwoke, who spoke on behalf of the JAC said their members who have been witnessing unwarranted and inexplicable delays going into the second half of the next month before payments of salaries in the last seven months, were being suffocated by the IPPIS office.
According to him, “As responsible Unions, we have avoided these crises but the irresponsibility of government and its officials have led us to a point where it has become inevitable. If fight we must, then fight we will.
“We have again cried out to the general public with a view to inviting stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on government to correct the anomalies of IPPIS, pay us the arrears of both Earned Allowances and Minimum Wage, among all the other issues highlighted above, failing which it will be a showdown in the University System effective from when Universities would be directed to reopen for activities after the COVID 19 lockdown.
“If by the time schools are asked to reopen and the needful is not done, it means hope is lost and the earlier avoidable industrial conflict becomes inevitable. This is what we seek to avert, hence this public outcry and call.”
Other issues raised by the unions include: “Haphazard payments leading to non-payment, underpayment, overpayments and multiple payments in some cases.
Misinterpretation and wrongful implementation of extant documents on statutory deductions as regard staff salaries and allowances in the University System.
“Non-issuance of payslips to workers. Non-implementation and unilateral withdrawal of extant allowances hitherto agreed upon with the Federal Government in the FGN/NASU and FGN/SSANU 2009 agreements and other subsequent Memoranda of Understanding, being product of collective bargaining. Non-payment of arrears of new Minimum Wage.
“Irregular deduction and non-remittance of third party deductions such as Bank loans, Union Check-off dues, Cooperative Contributions among others.”