The Federal Government has told the Joint Action Committee comprising of the Non-Academic Staff Union of universities (NASU), the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) that they cannot embark on the strike scheduled to start Friday (today) midnight.
Speaking during an interview with State House Correspondents on Friday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said that going ahead with the strike is a violation of International Labour Organisation’s statute on work principles.
Ngige, who spoke shortly after a meeting he had with President Muhammadu Buhari, said that the FG has heard the issues brought forward by the unions and are working towards resolving them.
The unions are protesting against the sharing fomula for the N40 billion earned academic allowance, issues with the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, and the non payment of minimum wage arrears.
Other issues include the poor funding of universities, the usurping of non-academic positions by academic staff and other issues.
Ngige said, “In consonance with the labour laws, we have apprehended both strikes. They gave us trade dispute notice, we scheduled meetings with them after apprehension, we held meeting with NASU and SSANU last week Tuesday and government’s position was explained to them.
“They have a lot of issues mentioned as their grouse, issues like IPPIS. They said IPPIS has amputated some of their allowances, they also have the issue of consequential adjustment that was paid to all civil servants as a result of the new minimum wage of N30,000 for staff above Grade Level One, that is starting from Grade Level Two up to Level 17.
“So, in the main, after conferring with Mr President, we are telling the unions not to carry out the action because that action will run counter to ILO Statute on social dialogue and principles at work because their employers have listened, they have brought them to the table.
“So, for SSANU and NASU, we are imploring them not to carry out their threat which they said will take effect from this midnight.
“More so, when the meeting adjourned at their own instance. Just this morning, I received a letter from them giving us a new date for the continuation of the dialogue.
“They proposed a new date of Thursday, February 11 and my office has communicated to them back that we will be ready for them at that time because as they claimed, they needed time to consult with their constituency and come back on the fresh issues that have cropped up from the discussion.”
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The minister said that the government did not wait till the last minute to negotiate with the unions.
He also stated that he believes good judgement will help both parties avoid a “no work no pay” situation.