Education

June 19, 2024

Withheld salaries: ASUU threatens nationwide strike, sensitizes stakeholders

ASUU

Osodeke

By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta

The Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) Ago Iwoye chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday staged a peaceful rally, to create awareness over the impending nationwide strike by the union.

The ASUU – OOU which said it was acting on the directive of the national body, added that the strike ought to have commenced, but the union chose to postpone it till a date in July to enable the lecturers to prepare the minds of stakeholders on the looming industrial action.

The rally led by the OOU branch Acting Chairman, Dr Olooto Wasiu, took the lecturers around the university campus, where they briefed students, parents and motorists about the imminent strike, urging them to understand that the strike is meant to save the nation’s public Universities.

The protesting lecturers were armed with placards with various inscriptions, such as: “Nigerians, ASUU has sacrificed more than enough for the survival of the university system,” “FG stop playing politics with our educational system,” “Education is a right and not a privilege,” “Our negotiation should be completed and implemented” among others.

Addressing newsmen, the Acting branch Chairman, Dr. Olooto identified the federal government’s disbanding of some Governing Council Boards of Federal Universities when their tenure had not yet ended and its refusal to recall them, owing members three and half months under the guise of ‘no work, no pay policy’ as punishment for previous strike and quest for university autonomy as some of the reasons for the looming nationwide strike.

Olooto also identified the non – implementation of the 2009 ASUU/FG agreement in full, the rejection of the UTAS payment system developed by the ASUU and the continued use of the IPPIS to pay members as other unresolved issues necessitating the impending nationwide strike by ASUU.

According to him, the strike is inevitable, hence the advance notice to Nigerians, especially stakeholders, so that nobody would be taken unaware.

He said, “The basis of the rally was to sensitize our students and stakeholders in the university about the impending strike. The action may be determined by circumstances. It might be a strike or something else.

“The essence is to keep them aware that very soon, very very soon and truly, truly I say unto you that very very soon the action will be exposed but it will be as directed by the national body. I believe that they have been sensitized and given their consent. So, if they heard that ASUU was on strike, they would have already been aware of it and its purpose.

“There are many things the government has not done. Our colleagues were being owed eight months’ salary because of the previous strike. They adopted the policy of ‘no work no pay.’ They have paid for four and a half months. It remains three and a half months unpaid. We are saying the remaining months owed to our members should be paid.

“The claim was that they didn’t teach but they forgot that the job of lecturers is not only limited to teaching. There are areas of community service, there are areas of research. Let them go ask the students if what they were supposed to be taught when ASUU was on strike was not eventually taught when the strike was called off.

“Immediately after the strike called off and school resumed, we made sure that all that the students were supposed to learn were treated, they were examined, scripts were marked and results were released. What else did they want us to do that we did not do? So, there is no basis for withholding the three and half months salary of our members.”