4 December 2012

Nigeria: Varsity Workers Begin Nationwide Strike Monday

THE nation's university education is heading for another major industrial unrest as workers in the sector have written to President Goodluck Jonathan intimating him of their resolve to commence a nationwide strike from Monday, December 10, over unpaid allowances and job security.

Acting under the umbrella of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the workers are concerned over non-implementation of 2009 agreement government entered with them, especially as it concerned earned allowances to non-teaching staff members of SSANU and the planned outsourcing of non-teaching staff in universities.

A similar letter by SSANU to the Minister of Education and copied Minister of Labour and Productivity and National University Commission, NUC, gave the minister a week ultimatum to address the grievances of members or face industrial unrest.

The letter addressed to President Jonathan and signed by SSANU President, Comrade Samson Ugwoke, read: "On behalf of the entire membership of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), I write to greet Mr.President with utmost respect and congratulate you for your painstaking efforts at tackling the numerous problems of our country, including the difficult task of ensuing peace and normalcy in our universities.

"This is the only way the set goals of universities can be achieved. Absolute peace, however, can only be achieved when government fully implements agreements reached with unions.

"We regret to inform Mr. President that up till this time of writing, earned allowances, as contained in the 2009 FGN/SSANU agreement, have not been implemented, despite all pressures mounted on the FGN/Staff Unions Agreement Implementation and Monitoring Committee.

"The National Executive Council at its 20th regular meeting held at theUniversity of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Friday, November 23, 2012, resolved to embark on a week warning strike beginning Monday, December 10, 2012.

"We, therefore, call on Mr. President, the National Assembly and well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Minister of Education and National Universities Commission to resolve these issues before the strike becomes full blown.

In the letter to the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqqayatu Rufa'i, the union reminded her of non-implementation of 2009 FGN/SSANU Agreement.

It noted that failure of Ministry of Education's to make provision for payment of Earned Allowances as agreed in the 2009 FGN/SSANU Agreement in the 2013 Federal budget was a fundamental breach of the agreement.

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