The Academic Staff Union of Universities and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities have called on the Federal Government to meet their demands and also pay its members their salary arrears.
ASUU and other university union had embarked on strike at different times, demanding improved working condition and development of the nation’s tertiary education.
While SSANU and its sister union, the Non-Academic Staff Union suspended the strike in August, ASUU, on the other hand suspended its eight-month strike in October after the ruling of the National Industrial Court and the Appeal court.
However, the Federal Government only paid the lecturers for 18 working days in the month of October, while SSANU members were also not paid for the four months they were on strike, insisting they would not be paid for work not done.
However, ASUU had on Monday began protests across the country to press home their demand for full pay.
Speaking in an interview with NAN, SSANU National President, Muhammed Ibrahim, said the union followed the due process of embarking on strike which rendered the no work, no pay policy of the government as illegal.
He said, “For the four months that we were legally on strike, our money has not been paid. Government should do the needful because our strike followed all due processes. We notified the government before going on strike and therefore, there was no reason for the government to withhold our salaries.
“I urge the Federal Government to do the needful by ensuring that they release the withheld salaries of all university workers because the strike was forced on the staff by the government’s refusal to respect the 2009 agreement. The strike was borne out of the frustration of members.
“If they are claiming the policy of “no work no pay”, we are saying that labour laws say that members of staff have the right to embark on strike where their employers have infringed on their rights. Before you embark on strike, there are processes and procedures that you need to follow which SSANU has religiously followed.”
On her part, the ASUU Chairperson, University of Uyo, Happiness Uduk, said the Federal Government should be responsible for meeting the demands of the union, stressing that the labour law provided that workers should not be intimidated over strike actions.
She added that due to the refusal of the government to pay salaries, lecturers had been struggling to meet their obligations due to increase in prices of commodities, including transportation.
She said, “We were all shocked at the first week of this month when the government paid prorated salary. According to them, we were only been paid for the number of days which we worked, making it seem as if we are casual workers. Meanwhile, on our letters of appointment, if you check through, you will find out that nobody was employed as a casual worker, which means nobody should be paid daily.
“The current situation is that people are hungry and then as law abiding citizens we decided as a union to obey the ruling of the National Industrial Court; we have resumed work, yet the government is creating disharmony and disaffection.’’