April 25, 2023

40% pay rise: Varsity workers on warpath with FG over exclusion

40% pay rise: Varsity workers on warpath with FG over exclusion

•FG’s action, recipe for disaster-SSANU

•Says we’re yet to receive N50bn Earned Allowances

•Varsity workers captured in pay rise-FG

•Waiting for ASUU to conclude negotiation on condition of service

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

There are indications that unions in the university system may rise against the Federal Government over alleged exclusion of their members in the 40 per cent pay rise for peculiar allowance and arrears.

The Federal Government had recently approved 40 per cent increase for civil servants in federal ministries, agencies and departments, MDAs, under the Consolidated Public Salary Structure.

But workers in the university sector have kicked against their exclusion, describing the action of government as a recipe for crisis.

But the Federal Government has said there was no cause for alarm, saying unicersity workers were captured in the pay rise.

The government also said it was waiting for the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to conclude its negotiation on Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA, on the condition of service with its employer, the Ministry of Education, so that it would be transmitted to the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.

Speaking to Vanguard yesterday, President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, said the idea of denying university workers the salary increment was an invitation to crisis in the university sector..

Comrade Ibrahim accused the government of abandoning the agreement it entered into with the university unions, alleging that the N50 billion Earned Allowances the government promised to include in the 2023 budget had not seen the light of the day as workers were yet to receive any payment on that.

He said:  “This idea of denying university workers the salary increment is only a recipe for crisis in the education sector. Because government had promised two years ago that they were going to review the salaries putting in the re-negotiation committee and re-negotiations never got concluded.

“There Is this N50 billion Earned Allowances which they said that have put in the 2023 budget, it has not seem the light of the day. There is a proposal for salary increment which they made and which has not also seen the light of the day.

“I want to call on the government to immediately without much delay release the N50 billion Earned Allowances and also implement the salary increment which we have been talking with them in the last two years.”

However, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said the university workers were not excluded in the pay rise, explaining that the delay in paying them was due to the inability of ASUU to conclude negotiations with its employer.

He said:  “ASUU has not concluded their Collective Bargaining with their employers, the ministry of education. If you remember, there was the Prof. Nimi Briggs Comnittee and that Briggs Committee reached conclusion with NAAT, SSANU and NASU.

“But there were certain observations made on the conclusion they reached, ASUU never came for them to reach any conclusion with them. So, there were certain observations which were pointed out to the education ministry. 

”So they will now go back to education and revalidate a new CBA and transmit immediately to salaries, income and wages. And salaries, income and wages will work on it urgently as a new CBA for condition of service and transmit to the presidential committee on salaries. We expect all this will be done within the next fortnight.”

”The same will go with ASUU whenever they come back to education and accept whatever education has offered them, it will also go to salaries, income and wages commission for transmission to presidential committee on salaries, that’s the route.

“Mark you, it is not only on salaries, it also includes their allowances. It is the entire wage structure, component of their wage, monthly wage, annual wage that have been computed into that. Same is being done for NASU, SSANU and others.

“This time around we except CONUA and NAMDA to go into CBA for their own members”

On the complain by SSANU that the N50 billion Earned Allowances, captured in the 2023 has  not been released to them, he said: “This is what I am telling you. Even their condition of service review and everything have been captured in the 2023 budget. Not only them, the educational sector including ASUU and their allowances. These allowances are even being doubled.

“There is no promise to SSANU separately, we are dealing with University unions comprehensively. It is combined. The money is more than N50 billion dedicated to the education sector.Everything has its own components, it’s more than N50 billion. For the educational sector including the Polytechnics and everybody, I think it is up to N350 billion captured in 2023 budget.”

Asked why the the money has not been released yet, Senator Ngige said, “You do one line one step. This is a fall-out of an industrial action, so we are tidying it up now starting with their condition of service of which their wage is first thing first. So it is when you do your wages that you now do extra allowances.”