After hours of deliberations, the Federal Government on Tuesday failed to reach agreement with the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU).
The university workers have threatened to commence an indefinite strike from February 5 over the Federal Government’s handling of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), sharing formula of the N40 billion earned academic allowances and non-payment of arrears of the new minimum wage.
The workers, under the Joint Action Committee, which is made up of Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), said other contentious issues that informed the decision include inconsistencies in IPPIS payment and the delay in the renegotiation of the FGN/ ASUU/SSANU 2009 Agreement.
Others are the non-payment of retirement benefits to former members, non-constitution of visitation panels to universities, poor funding of universities, teaching staff usurping the headship of non-teaching units, among others.
General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, while briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, asked for time to report back to its members on the outcome of the meeting.
Adeyemi, who said the meeting failed to address most of the issues, added the union leadership doesn’t have the powers to unilaterally call – off the proposed strike.
He said: “As a result of that development, we asked that the government should allow us time to meet our members and seek for further mandate.
“Clearly, the agenda of the meeting has not been exhausted, so there are still issues to be addressed. In fact, one of the most contentious issues is yet to be discussed.
“We are favourably disposed to dialogue and after discussing with our members, we will come back and continue with the discussion. So far, nothing has been concluded.
“We don’t have the mandate to talk about suspending strike. That’s not within our competence. The mandate of our members stands until they ask us to reverse it.”
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige said the meeting was “fruitful.”
The Minister said the Federal Government has responded to issues surrounding the IPPIS and the issues were being addressed.
He said: “The deliberations were fruitful, government side responded to issues concerning IPPIS and what is being done to assist university workers (non-academic workers), who have had some complains in that direction especially some of their allowances they said was chopped off by IPPIS system.
“We were satisfied that reasonable progress have been made. It’s a work in progress.”