By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Joint Action Committee, JAC,of non-teaching staff unions of universities has announced the suspension of its three weeks old strike with effect from midnight of February 26.
The national leadership of JAC non-teaching staff comprises of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of the Universities (NASU).
The union which conveyed its decision during media briefing it held after the conciliatory meeting with the federal government, explained that it agreed to suspend the national strike after extracting some concessions from the government.
Speaking through NASU General Secretary, Peters Adeyemi, the union said its demands have been harmonized to the satisfaction of both parties, just as he stressed that they will continue to monitor the agreements that have been reached with timeline, to ensure that FG implement its own side of the bargain.
“We had 8 items which we negotiated and which form the basis for our ongoing national strike. Our members in our various campuses in the universities and inter-universities centres had appraised the draft MoU and then raised the few observations, but they granted us the mandate that if we are able to meet with the government which we have been able to do today and if the leadership is satisfied, we can go ahead and suspend the strike.
“So we have held the meeting with the government side and those areas that needed to be harmonized has been harmonized to the satisfaction of both parties and resulting from that development, we have agreed that the ongoing national strike in universities and inter universities centres should be suspended with effect from 12 midnight tomorrow which is Friday 26, February.
“We use this opportunity to appreciate our members for their commitment in this struggles, this strike is suspended and we are not mindful of the fact that we will continue to monitor the agreements that has been reached which has timeline and we hope that the FG we implement his own side of the bargain.
“If the FG doesn’t, we have no reason to call our members to resume the suspended strike but for now, the strike is suspended with effect from 12 midnight of tomorrow February 26.”
Adeyemi stressed that the union will not hesitate to call back its members to resume the suspended strike if the government fails to implement all the agreements reached.
Earlier, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, said the meeting was very fruitful as all the rough edges arising from the former negotiations have been smoothened.
“Today’s deliberations have been very fruitful, we have also issued a conciliation document called Joint Action Memorandum of Action (MoA), and the two unions will get back to their members today and in good faith, have promised that there will speak to government before the end of tomorrow.
“So we keep our fingers crossed, believing that their communications with their union members will be as quick and swift as they have promised us.
“This is more so, as government is desirous that normal activities should return to the University system so that we can take the action one after the other. With the normalcy restored in the university system, we intend to do the visitation panel which is one of the agreements reached with them and which cannot be carried out without normalcy in the university system.” Ngige said
The unions demand included, rectifying inconsistencies in the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS), non-payment of arrears of minimum wage, delay in renegotiation with government, NASU and SSANU 2009 agreement, among others.