By Davies Iheamnachor— PORT HARCOURT
Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, NASU, have stated that they would no longer accept to work under pitiable conditions.
The bodies, which came together on the platform of the Joint Action Committee, JAC, also tasked the government to always implement its laws and policies to the letter, noting that unions would ensure that all their demands are met by the government.
Speaking in Port Harcourt, the South-South Zonal Vice President of SSANU, Azuma Cheta, addressing pressmen, regretted that universities in the South-South region were poorly funded, adding that some of the states had not implemented minimum wage for the workers.
Cheta said: “Secondly, we have also seen that the issue of minimum wage is still living with us. The minimum wage is an act of law in Nigeria. The Federal Government should be upright enough to make laws and implement their laws to the letter.
“The state universities in the zone are worse. For instance, the Rivers State Government has not paid minimum wage to any of the tertiary institutions that the state owns.
“Ekpoma has not paid its workers for three months now. Cross Rivers State University of Science and Technology has not paid its workers for the past three months.
“We have seen situations where these universities are poorly funded and workers exposed to different dangers like Covid-19. We are saying no to such pitiable situation they want to subject us to.”
Cheta stated that the unions want a good university system that would bring the best out of students, regretting that the government was trying to creating a dichotomy that would affect the education system.
“We want a university system that will bring the best out of our children. Because all of us seated here are in one way or the other affected. Worse still is the dichotomy they are trying to create.
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“We are saying no to the kind of divide-and-rule system they are trying to create in the university system. We are pressing home that on October 20, 2020, our joint unions had a memorandum of understanding with the federal government, midwifed by the Minister of Labour and Minister of Education.
“Worse still is the earn allowance issue where we were told 30 billion Naira was released and out of it, 75% of the money has been appropriated to a particular union and 25% all other unions should share.
“This will cause disunity among the various unions on campus. We all know that bursary of the university has the record of what each and every one of us earns as earned allowances.
“So we are saying that the various university bursary should be allowed work out what each and every worker merits as earn allowance.”