Home » SSANU, NASU Set for Strike Over Unpaid Salaries

SSANU, NASU Set for Strike Over Unpaid Salaries

University Staff Unions Demand Justice, Plan Total Campus Shutdown

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi

The escalating tension between the federal government and university staff unions in Nigeria is set to reach a new peak as the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) announced plans to embark on a seven-day warning strike commencing March 18, 2024. This decisive move is in response to the government’s failure to remit four months of withheld salaries, a grievance that has been simmering among the unions’ members.

The roots of this confrontation trace back to a protracted strike action undertaken by public university employees in 2022, during which salaries were withheld by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. In an attempt to resolve the lingering dispute, President Bola Tinubu issued an order for the compensation of the affected employees for the four months of unpaid salaries. However, despite the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) receiving their due compensation as per the President’s directive, SSANU and NASU have been left in the lurch, with their members yet to see the promised payments materialize.

The decision to proceed with the warning strike was made during SSANU’s 47th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) in Ondo State. The consensus among members was clear: the injustice of selective payment could not be tolerated. SSANU’s President, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, vocalized the union’s frustrations and the rationale behind the impending strike. The move is seen as a last resort to compel the government to fulfill its obligations and address the perceived inequity in its treatment of university staff unions.

Comrade Ibrahim’s message underscored the comprehensive nature of the planned strike, emphasizing that it would lead to a complete shutdown of essential services on campuses nationwide, including water supply, electricity, medical services, and administrative operations. The potential disruption underscores the severity of the situation and the unions’ determination to fight for their rights.

Despite the stern stance taken by SSANU and NASU, there remains a glimmer of hope that the government will engage with the unions to find a resolution before the strike action takes effect. Comrade Ibrahim highlighted the unions’ awareness of their responsibilities towards society, the academic community, and students in particular. He noted that the decision to strike was not made lightly and that the unions had engaged in extensive sensitization, stakeholder consultations, and issued multiple notices to the government in a bid to avert the need for industrial action.

As the deadline approaches, the prospect of a “total blackout” on university campuses across Nigeria looms large, with potential implications for academic activities and student welfare. The government’s response, or lack thereof, in the coming days will be critical in determining the course of action and whether an amicable solution can be reached to prevent further disruption to the country’s higher education sector.

This standoff is a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges in Nigeria’s education sector, where disputes over funding, salaries, and working conditions have frequently led to industrial actions, disrupting the academic calendar and affecting the quality of education. The resolution of this latest dispute will not only have immediate implications for the involved parties but could also set a precedent for future negotiations between the government and university staff unions in Nigeria.

Source: The Sun Nigeria

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