This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Crisis Looms As Varsity Workers Mobilise for Strike

Industrial crisis may be brewing in the nation's education sector as the unions in the sector have begun mobilising university workers for a nationwide indefinite strike action.

The workers are among others protesting the Federal Government's failure to fully implement the 2009 agreement reached with the unions in the sector.

They are also resisting the plan by government to implement the report of the "Committee on Needs Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities," which recommended massive retrenchment of non-teaching staff of tertiary institutions across the country.

Already, the National Association of Academic Tehnologists (NAAT), Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) have directed all their branches to commence the mobilisation of their members for a total industrial action.

The directive was contained in a memo sent to all the branch chairmen of government-owned universities across the country, following the meeting of the Joint Action Committee held over the weekend, at NASU national secretariat, Abuja.

The memo, titled: "Update on the 2009 Agreement and Needs Assessment Report," was signed by NAAT President, Comrade Sani Suleiman, NASU President Comrade Ladi Iliya and the SSANU President, Comrade Samson Ugwoke.

The unions said the strike became necessary following the non-commitment of government to honour agreement despite several meetings with the Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMG) on the modalities for the implementation of the earned allowances for workers.

The memo reads in part: "The uninterrupted academic calendar that had existed in Nigerian public universities in the last three years is being threatened. This is as a result of the failure of the government to fully implement the 2009 Agreement and our Joint Action Committee's (JAC) rejection of the report of the committee on Needs Assessment of Nigerian public universities with the conclusive purport of massively retrenching and marginalising the non- teaching staff. Another point of serious concern to JAC is the constitution of the Needs Assessment Committee, submission of its reports and setting up of a Technical Committee with the same personalities that wrote the main report to review same for implementation without addressing complaints raised by the three unions who are critical stakeholders despite assurances given by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). Based on the above development, all branches are hereby directed to commence mobilization of members towards possible indefinite strike actions, while you await further directives."

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