By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
NON teaching staff in the universities have vowed not to go back to work if the Federal Government fails to correct the alleged imbalance in the sharing formula of about N40 billion Earned Allowances.
It was alleged that the government gave the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, about 75 percent of the Earned Allowances leaving 25 percent for the other three unions of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT to share.
But NAAT and SSANU have threatened not to resume if the government did not correct the alleged imbalance in sharing the Earned Allowances, claiming that while ASUU has about 75 percent of the money, each of the three unions would get less than nine percent.
Reacting to the sharing formula, the National President of NAAT President, Comrade Ibeji Nwokomma said anyone thinking that the non teaching staff unions in the universities would resume with the recent development was day dreaming except the government correct the imbalance.
According to him, “My union is rejecting the sharing formula of the Earned Allowances as it is being done presently by the government. Government has allocated 75 percent of the money to ASUU and 25 percent to all other non teaching unions in the universities, that is grossly inadequate.
“That is robbing Peter to pay Paul and using divide and rule in the University system. No union not even ASUU has the monopoly of opening or closing of schools through strike, other unions also have that capacity to ensure that the system does not work.
“Secondly, my union, ASUU and other unions negotiated with government , so payment of Earned Allowances will be based on unions, it should be on the basis of the 2009 Agreement, that is where the Earned Allowances is derived from.
“So lumping my union with other non teaching staff is neither here nor there and totally unacceptable to us.”
Continuing, he said, “We had an MoU with government just signed on 15th of November which says that government should clearly define what supposed to go to each union and government agreed that it was going to do that and today they just shared the money anyhow they want it without adhering to the MoU we had with government.
“My union is asking that our own Earned Allowances should be specified, whatever it is should be specified just like they did to ASUU.
“If nothing is done we will close down the system until we are fairly treated.
“Government should convene a meeting immediately to settle this issue otherwise any thinking that school will reopen, they are just wasting their time, school will not reopen until these issues are adequately taken care of.”
He said that he was making efforts to get in touch with the Director and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education to draw their attention to the brewing crisis.
Also speaking, the National President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Haruna Ibrahim said that his union would not take the lopsided sharing formula.
He said, “Honestly I believe that this remains a rumour even though I know it could be true, I have seen 75 percent and 25 percent.
“But truly if it is that, we have stated in no uncertain terms that we will not take this kind of lopsided allocations again because what is the scientific measurement used to give this money. We have stated before now that the least we can take is 50-50, they are not more in numbers.
“And even if they want to do something like that maybe this is my own personal opinion, I may not insist on 50-50 but at least something reasonable. We have so much numbers.
“If they give for example 60-40, do you think the noise will be there? Government does not want peace if it is giving 75 percent to only one union and giving 25 percent to three unions, does it make sense?
“Certainly, my members are more than willing to down tools if this becomes a reality.”