The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has resolved not to embark on another strike action over the payment of half salaries to members by the Federal Government.
This was contained in a statement released on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the University of Abuja.
The statement which was titled; ‘WE ARE INTELLECTUALS, NOT CASUAL WORKERS’ fingered Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, saying he is a notorious agent of the ruling class.
Recall that on Friday, October 16, 2022, ASUU suspended its eight-month-old strike which had shut down public universities in the country to demand full implementation of agreements it had entered into with the Federal Government a few years ago.
While the ASUU strike lasted, the federal government had insisted on implementing the ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy when the university teachers were away from their duty posts.
However, things took a new turn last Thursday, November 3, 2022, when it was gathered that the government only paid half-month salaries to the university teachers.
Reacting to the development the ministry of Labour stated that ASUU members were paid their October salary pro-rata, and not half salary as the media widely reported.
According to the ministry, pro-rata was done because they cannot be paid for work not done.
It also stated that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, never directed the Accountant General of the Federation to pay the university lecturers half-salary.
Earlier, Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, appealed to members of the ASUU to be patient over the half pay by the Federal Government.
He assured the lecturers, in a statement, that lasting solutions to their concerns were being sought, noting that President Muhammadu Buhari was treating their fresh protest.
Gbajabiamila rationalised that government’s no work, no pay policy was premised on preventing moral hazard and discouraging disruptive industrial actions.
His words: “When ASUU called off their industrial action three weeks ago, it meant that academic activities could resume in our nation’s public universities and students could return to their academic pursuits after the prolonged interruption. This decision was rightly heralded nationwide as the correct decision.”
Meanwhile, the union in the statement released today has agreed not to go on fresh strike hoping the intervention of the speaker will be fruitful.
The statement reads; “The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) suspended its eight-month strike on 14th October 2022, in obedience to the order of the National Industrial Court and in further consideration of intervention efforts of well-meaning Nigerians, including the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila. The action of the Union was a display of manifest trust in the judiciary and other institutions and organs of government to always put national interest above all other considerations.
“This we believe, as a union of thinkers, intellectuals, and patriots, will not only aid the process of amicable resolution of the crisis, but will also set the tone for smooth industrial relations between Government and Nigerian workers at large.
“Unfortunately, the response of government towards ASUU’s demonstration of trust was the so-called ‘pro-rata’ payment for eighteen days as the October 2022 salaries of academics thereby portraying them as daily paid workers! This is not only an aberration, but a contravention of all known rules of engagement in any contract of employment for academics the world over.
“At an emergency meeting of the ASUU’s National Executive Committee (NEC), held on Monday, 7th November 2022, the Union deliberated on developments since the suspension of the strike. NEC noted with dismay that paying academics on “pro-rata” basis, like casual workers, is unprecedented in the history of university oriented labour relations and therefore condemned this attempt to reduce Nigerian scholars to casual workers in its entirety.
“NEC commends the membership of ASUU for their perseverance in the face of untold hardship and unwarranted provocation by some notorious agents of the ruling class. NEC further appeals for the understanding of Nigerian students, parents and other genuinely concerned individuals and groups while the Union continues to pursue positive resolution of this avoidable crisis within the ambit of legality without compromising the interests and welfare of Nigerian intellectuals.”
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