The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) Monday shunned an invitation by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, over the nation-wide strike which formally kicked off today across the country.
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.
The is coming after the meeting with Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Anyim Pius Anyim and the three unions- SSANU, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) failed to resolve the industrial dispute.
THISDAY learnt that the Ministry of Labour had invited the leadership of SSANU to an emergency meeting with Wogu but neither the SSANU President, Samson Ugwoke nor his representatives attended the meeting.
Ugwoke, who comfirmed receipt of the letter added he could not attend the meeting because SSANU was the only union invited out of three unions involved in the struggle.
The SSANU president said NASU and NAAT, who are also very important partners in the struggle were not invited.
He queried the intention of the ministry to have invited him alone, leaving behind the other three unions, adding that he will not be a party to a situation whereby government would want to use divide and rule to break the rank of the university workers.
Besides, he pointed out that the meeting held with the three unions by the SGF did not yield any positive result, and wondered what the minister will now tell them when the strike was already on.
"If the government has anything to tell us, they should have done so through the SGF. They don't have anything to say rather than to buy time. Water does not flow backward. This government is insincere," Ugwoke said.
He, however, vowed that next year will be very critical for the university sector in the country, adding that if government failed to resolve the crisis and listen to their demand, there will be full blown strike as from January.