The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Non-academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) on Wednesday commenced a three-day protest across various campuses nationwide.
This was in response to the directive of the JAC’s leadership which was contained in a memo addressed to the leadership of the branches of the two associations on campuses across the country.
According to the memo, a virtual meeting of JAC’s leadership, which held on Monday, had reviewed latest developments in the universities and inter-university centres over the sharing formula for the 2021 tranche of the earned allowances and the failure of the government to pay the arrears of the minimum wage consequential adjustment.
The memo reads in part: “That all our branches should mandatorily call a general meeting of JAC of NASU and SSANU on Wednesday, 10th November, 2021 and from there, declare and commence a 3-day protest from Wednesday, 10th – Friday, 12th November, 2021.
“The protest should be centered on the proposed provocative formula to be used for sharing the next tranche of N22.127 billion to be released by the federal government for the payment of earned allowance at the rate of 75 per cent to academics and 25 per cent to non-teaching staff.
“It should also be against the refusal on the part of the federal government to pay the arrears of the minimum wage consequential adjustment as agreed at the last meeting of JAC with the Federal Government on 26th August, 2021 at the Office of the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment that the payment would be made to the members of NASU and SSANU before the end of October, 2021.”
JAC urged the branches to await further directive at the end of the three-day protest on Monday, saying the leadership will again meet on Monday, November 15, to conclude on the next line of action.
The vice president of SSANU for South-west, Abdussobur Salaam, said despite the short notice the compliance rate has been encouraging.
According to Mr Salaam, not less than 60 per cent compliance was recorded on the first day of the protest, saying more than half of about 20 universities under his watch took part in the protest.
“We are quite aware of the short notice and those who couldn’t comply today appealed for consideration for proper mobilisation against Thursday. So with the help of social media we have been able to monitor compliance nationwide and I can assure you that the compliance rate has been very encouraging,” he said.
About a week ago, the unions had issued a directive to all the branches to begin mobilisation of members for industrial action should the federal government fail to review the allowance-sharing formula among the four unions in the university system.
In the statement, JAC had accused the federal government of lopsidedness and unfair treatment against its members on the sharing formula, noting that “this is the third time the lopsided, skewed and unrealistic disbursement is being done to our members, who are not only more in number, but belong to three different unions in the universities across Nigeria.”
It added: “The brazen injustice is, to say the least, appalling and inhumane. The previous disbursements were as follows: second tranche – year 2017, N23 billion at 89 per cent to ASUU and 11 per cent to non-teaching staff. Supplementary of N8 billion was later released to non-teaching staff. Third tranche – year 2019, N25 billion at the rate of 80 per cent to ASUU and 20 per cent to non-teaching staff. Fourth tranche – year 2021, N40 billion at 75 per cent to ASUU and 25 per cent to non-teaching staff.”