Education

June 16, 2024

Withheld salaries: We‘ve been pushed to the wall, SSANU, NASU, NAAT tell FG

NASU

…NAAT holds NEC meeting

By Adesina Wahab

Non-academic staff in the nation’s universities, Sunday told the federal government that they are being pushed to the wall regarding the refusal of the government to pay their almost six months’ withheld salaries.

Their grouse is that their counterparts in the academic staff unions have been paid part of their own withheld salaries.

According to the workers, the action of the government smacks of injustice and they may no longer be able to guarantee industrial harmony in the university system.

The workers are under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions, NASU.

The National President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, told Vanguard that his union has been taken for a ride by the government more than enough.

“It is sheer injustice that a section has been answered and the other section being taken for a ride. We have had enough of this nonsense. They paid the academic staff over three months ago and they keep promising us. My members are already fed up with this endless promissory note that has failed  to materialise.

” We are tired of the endless promises by the Minister of Education. We only see him on television making one promise after the other. We are writing a protest letter to the government and after the Sallah break, we will give the letter to the minister. As for our union, we can no longer guarantee industrial harmony in the system. Enough is enough, ” he stated.

On his part, the National President of NAAT, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma, said his union waited for the promise by the National Assembly to wade into the matter.

“The House of Representatives told us they would intervene in the matter. At a point in time, we would have taken some drastic steps, but the lawmakers said we should give them some time to wade in. They said they were on recess, and after they resume, they would do the needful. However, what we later got to know is that they passed a resolution on the matter.

” We have got to the stage that some drastic steps have to be taken. We will soon convene a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the association and then we know what to do next. It is unacceptable that some workers went on strike, a section was paid their withheld salaries, while the other was left in the lurch, ” he said.

The National Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi, expressed disgust that the government would still be playing that type of game among workers in its employ.

“It is very unfair and we have exercised enough patience and we are running out of it. The President gave an order regarding paying the salaries last October and eight months after, nothing has been done. What is baffling is that academic staff were paid part of their salaries, while non-academic staff were left out. The university system cannot run alone on the wing of academic staff, a bird does not fly with one wing, ” he said.

Recall that President Bola Tinubu last October ordered that the salaries be paid.

They were withheld following the industrial actions by the staff unions in the university sector in 2022.

The academic staff went on strike for eight months and were paid four out of the eight months salaries in February this year.

Nothing has been paid non-teaching staff who went on strike for five and a half months.

Education Minister, Prof. Mamman Tahir, at a time said government would only pay half of the salaries.