The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions (NASU), has expressed dissatisfaction at the Briggs-led committee’s report submitted to the federal government for approval.
The Briggs Committee was set up in March by the federal government to oversee the negotiations with the four university based unions and has submitted its report to the Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, over a month ago.
But, in a press briefing led by Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, National President, SSANU and Comrade Peters Adeyemi, General Secretary, NASU and Spokesperson, SSANU/NASU JAC on Friday in Abuja, the unions said the committee’s negotiations processes were biased as their members were not dully involved and did not endorse the 10 percent salary increase purportedly recommended in the report.
“The Minister of Labour and Employment in his various statements, had exposed the fact that a report had been prepared and presented to the Federal Government by the Briggs Committee.
“The Committee which had clear Terms of Reference to renegotiate with the University Based Unions, chose to solely review the salary and submit its report on the strength of its conclusion, surreptitiously allocating a salary increment to the two Unions even without having a single discussion on the issue with them. This is tantamount to shaving a man’s head behind his back. This is an utmost breach of faith and infringement of collective bargaining processes.
“The committee negotiated fully with one union and did not do full negotiations with the other unions.
“We don’t need to go to the market to begin to make announcement to say that it is biased and that so called interim report is not a report that is binding on all because we have not done our negotiations. The two unions have presented salary tables for renegotiations. They should have negotiated that salary table with us. Nothing has been done in that regards.
“It is therefore shocking, to say the least, that while we have not even commenced discussions on salary review and other allowances, we received reports that the Committee had gone ahead to submit a report to the Federal Government recommending a ten percent (10%) increase for Non-Teaching Unions”, they said.
The Unions warned that any attempt of salary discrepancies in the university system would be met with a stiff resistance.
“Let it be stated clearly, that SSANU and NASU reject any salary recommendation that would cause further disparity in the University system. There is an already existing disparity in the system which we had always closed our eyes to. To further expand that disparity would be invitation to the greatest level of anarchy and industrial unrest ever witnessed in the University system”, they added..
The unions further lamented that none of the the eight issues that led to the strike, have been fully addressed by Government up till date.
They described as a welcome development, recent directive by the President that the Minister of Education takes over negotiations with the aggrieved Unions, and hoped that the Federal Ministry of Education will correct the anomalies.
“As at today, out of the eight issues that led to the strike, none of them have been conclusively addressed by Government. Arrears of Consequential Adjustments on Minimum Wage have only been partially paid, as in many Universities, we still have many members who have not been paid, while the Federal Universities of Agriculture have been totally left out.
“No Arrears of Earned Allowances has been paid. White Papers on Visitation Panels have not been released. Staff School teachers continue to languish despite a Court judgment in their favour. Our jobs continue to be usurped by Vice-Chancellors as job for the boys and allocated to Academic Staff. State Universities have been badly hit by poor funding, poor governance and non-payment of salaries to workers spanning into months”, JAC added.
The Unions urged parents and other stakeholders to continue to appeal to the Federal Government to do the needful so that they can effectively return to their offices and jobs.