5 December 2012

Nigeria: University Workers Set for Strike On Monday

University workers have alerted President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqquatu Rufa'i, of their proposed strike, which would commence Monday next week.

The three non-teaching staff unions have threatened to embark on a seven-day warning strike over the non-payment of the earned allowances for workers as agreed in the 2009 meeting with government.

In a letter to Jonathan, the unions stated that the strike would affect all federal and state universities across the country.

Copies of the letters were also sent to the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, and the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC).

The National President of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Samson Ugwoke, said the strike will commence on November 10, 2012 if pragmatic steps were not taken to resolve the issues in contention.

He explained that the proposed strike was triggered by the failure of government to make provision for the payment of the earned allowance in the 2013 Federal Budget, a development which he described as a fundamental breach of agreement.

"Another issue that triggered the strike is the Report of the Committee on NEEDS Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities, most especially the curious manner in which the government raised a white paper on the report of the committee, which impact directly on the continued existence of its members without any invitation or input from the union," he said.

In the letter to President Jonathan, the union commended him for his painstaking efforts at tackling the numerous problems in the country, including the difficult task of ensuing peace and normalcy in the education sector.

The Union, however, regretted that till the time of writing the letter, "the earned allowances as contained in the 2009 FGN/SSANU agreement have not been implemented despite all pressure mounted on the FGN/Staff Unions Agreement Implementation and Monitoring Committee."

The letter reads: "We have equally gotten feelers that the Federal Government plans to outsource our members (non-teaching staff) in the Nigerian universities. The National Executive Council (NEC) at its 20th regular meeting held at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on November 23, 2012, resolved to embark on a one week warning strike beginning from December 10, 2012. We therefore call on Mr. President, the National Assembly and well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Minister of Education and the National Universities Commission to resolve these issues before the strike becomes full blown."

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