The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has stepped in to resolve a long-standing dispute between the Federal Government as well as the tertiary institution unions, which has paralysed activities in the country’s universities.
As a result, the congress gave the government a 21-day deadline to resolve the issues with members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU); the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU); the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU); and also the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) (NAAT).
This was stated in a communique signed by NLC President Ayuba Wabba and the congress’ General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, on Wednesday, April 13, in Abuja.
Following a meeting with the leaders of the impacted unions, Wabba expressed grave worries; about the government’s refusal to honour their 2009 renegotiated agreement.
If the government fails to settle the standoff within the time frame; he stated that the NLC would decide on the next course of action once the ultimatum expires.
The communique read in summary, “The key issues in disputes in the current crises bedevilling Nigeria’s tertiary education include:
- Re-negotiation of the 2009 Agreement which is expected to be reviewed every three years;
- Challenges with the implementation of the Integrated Payment Payroll Information System (IPPIS);
- Funding of University and Tertiary Education System in Nigeria;
- Non-payment of Arrears of Minimum Wage for University staff; and
- Earned Allowances for both Academic and Non-Academic Staff of Nigeria’s Universities.
- The intermittent and protracted strikes and other industrial actions in Nigeria’s public tertiary education system;
- Non-Implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreements signed with unions in Nigeria’s tertiary education system which touch on university funding, earned allowances, and other welfare issues facing universities staff; and
- The fate of more than 95% of Nigerian students constituted largely by children of the poor who cannot afford to pay the average of One Million Naira school fees charged by private tertiary institutions and who are currently idling away at home while the children of the rich continue with their education.
- In light of the foregoing concerns, the meeting resolved as follows:
- Called on the Federal Government to immediately set up a High-Powered Panel constituted of members with requisite mandates to resolve within 21 days the foregoing issues militating against industrial harmony in Nigeria’s university system; and
- Pursuant to the foregoing resolution, the Nigeria Labour Congress would be convening a Special Meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of all the Affiliate Unions of the Congress to decide on the next line of action.”