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4 months withheld salaries: SSANU mulls shutdown of varsities July 4


BARRING any last minutes change, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, has threatened to shut down universities on Thursday, July 4, over the non-payment of the four months withheld salaries by the government.

Recall that a fortnight ago, the Joint Action Committee, JAC, comprising SSANU and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, had issued a two week ultimatum to the Federal Government to pay its members the four months withheld salaries.

Out of the four University based unions that embarked on a prolonged strike in 2022, the federal government had paid the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, leaving behind the other three unions.

But SSANU in a communique after its 48th National Executive Council, NEC, meeting held in University of Benin, Edo State last weekend, threatened to withdraw its services at the end of the two weeks ultimatum if the government fails to pay the four months withheld salaries at the end of the ultimatum on Thursday, July 4.

The JAC of SSANU and NASU is expected to meet on the aforementioned date to review the government response to the ultimatum and take a common position on withdrawing their services.

SSANU in the communique signed by its President, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, expressed dismay at what it described as the unprecedented level of government’s insensitivity and deliberate resolve to cause chaos in the University by adopting the divide and rule policy.

According to the communique, “NEC in session once again expresses utmost dismay at the unprecedented level of Government’s insensitivity and deliberate resolve to cause chaos in the university  system by adopting the divide and rule policy to set unions on a collision course through preferential treatment of one union over others.

“Recall SSANU and other unions were compelled by government to embark on strike in 2022 over the refusal to honour a Collective Bargaining Agreement willingly signed by all parties.

“At the end of the strike, the then (Muhammadu) Buhari government further signed an elaborate agreement among which was the non victimization clause. However, government made a selective payment of the withheld salaries.

“While we do not begrudge the payment made to our colleagues, we expected same gesture to be extended to SSANU and NASU that legally complied with all procedures before embarking on the Industrial action.

“Despite all promises and media hypes by the Ministers of Education and Labour, including the House of Representatives to pay these arrears, Government has continued to dribble SSANU, even after the mutual agreement to suspend the one week warning strike in March this year.

“NEC in session deliberated on the matter and unanimously approved a long drawn comprehensive industrial action after concurrence with the Joint Action Committee meeting of SSANU and NASU scheduled for Thursday 4th July, 2024, if Government fails to pay the four months salary arrears.”

On the government’s approved wage award of N35,000 to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal which has been stopped, the association said that the “gross inability of the wage award to heal the excruciating financial wounds is further compounded by its stoppage in Federal Universities with three months arrears already pending.

“Many states are yet to effect payment of the wage award to our members in state universities thereby increasing their economic woes.”

NEC called on the Federal Government to immediately resume the payment of the wage award alongside the accrued three months arrears without further delay.

NEC also called on state governments that are yet to commence payment of the Award to commence payment with the arrears accruing therefrom.

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