Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday warned the federal government against fresh crisis in the universities that would surpass all previous ones.
The union, however, said the members cannot and would not continue to do free work that would not be remunerated.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, Kwara State, shortly after a protest embarked on by the members of the union in University of Ilorin branch, the former ASUU Chairman of the university and a council member of the union, Professor Rasheed Adeoye, and the Secretary of the union in the university, Dr. Olatunji Abdulganiyu, described half salaries reportedly paid by the government to members of the union for October as unacceptable, saying it would be resisted.
The union leaders said: “As a law-abiding union, we have heeded the directive of the court which directed that we resume duty while the substantive matter is being heard.
“However, after resumption from strike, to our utmost dismay, the government decided that half salaries be paid to our members for the month of October 2022. This development is unacceptable and would be resisted by our union.
“The fact is that academics are not casual workers. Only casual workers receive pay pro-rate. The law of the land is also clear on this. Indeed, the National Industrial Court made it clear in a landmark judgment in 2020 that tenured staff cannot be paid pro-rata.
“It is very sad that the Minister of Labour is ignorant of the fact that academic staff engage in so many activities aside teaching duties. In fact, the primary duty of an academic staff is research, and there are other activities that have continued to engage their attention irrespective of strike or whether school is in session or not.”
They added: “Gentlemen of the press, let me assure you that our union is resolved to continue to call the attention of the government to its responsibilities despite the obnoxious treatment being meted out to us by government.
“To this effect, though we have resumed work in our university, the government ignoble stance of withholding our eight months’ salaries, which is based on its ill-advised policy of ‘No work, No Pay’ is set to trigger fresh crises. In the coming days, the union would respond by considering to invoke the ‘No Pay, No Work’ policy, and would abandon the works that have accumulated for those period which the government has falsely claimed that our members have not worked.
“Members of the public are hereby sensitised and put on notice again that fresh crisis, which would surpass all previous ones, is looming again in the Nigeria universities as our members cannot and would not continue to do free work that would not be remunerated.
“We hope that with this notice, all relevant stakeholders, who have the ears of the government and would act fast before the fragile peace restored on our campuses nationwide collapses.”
The ASUU leaders said the demands of the union, for the records, included: “Release of revitalisation fund to the public institutions in the country; release of White Paper of Visitation Panels to public universities which our union forced the government to convene; Renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement and the termination of the obnoxious, ineffective and corrupt-laden IPPIS as payment platform in the Nigeria public university system, among others.”