The Federal Government has restated its threat not to pay any of its employees on strike or absent from duty post without due authorisation.
This followed the commencement of a two-week warning strike by the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) today.
It was gathered that with the warning strike by SSANU and NASU, activities in the nation’s public universities have been fully grounded.
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The Academic Staff Union of Universities and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) are already on strike over Federal Government’s failure to implement agreements with them..
Reacting to the development the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige, said the government had decided to apply the “No-work, No Pay” policy in compliance with Section 43 of the Labour Law.
Ngige stated that the actions of the unions amounted to “false leave” and a declaration of forced holidays for students. He reminded the members that the government was not “Father Xmas.”
According to him, “Anybody on strike now will not be paid in consonance with Section 43.
“What they (unions) are doing is false leave; they are forcing their employers to close down some of their universities and declare holiday for students because of that.
“So if you do that, you will not be paid. Government is not Father Christmas where you are not working and you will be paid.”
SSANU and NASU had in a joint statement yesterday announced the commencement of the warning strike, saying “no concession should be given in any guise.”
General-Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, and National President of SSANU, Mohammed Ibrahim, directed the branch chairmen to ensure that the work boycott was ”comprehensive and total.”
They referred to a letter addressed to Ngige in which they accused the government of failing to respond to its demands as of the time they issued the statement.
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The statement reads, “Please refer to our letter with ref. No. JAC/NS/VOL.II/192 dated 16th March 2022 addressed to the Minister of Labour and Employment titled: “Re: looming industrial action and notice of warning strike.
“Having waited so long, this is to inform you that the government has not responded nor reacted to our demands as at this moment.
“In view of the nonchalant attitude of the government to our demands, this is to direct our members in all universities and Inter-university centres throughout the country to commence a two-week warning strike by midnight of Sunday, 27th March 2022, in the first instance as earlier conveyed to the Federal Government in our letter.
“Please note that the two weeks warning strike should be comprehensive and total as no concession should be given in any guise.
“Your strict compliance and adherence to this directive is mandatory for all branches of NASU and SSANU in the universities and inter-university centres.”
Some of the complaints of the unions are inconsistencies in IPPIS payment, non-payment of Earned Allowances, delay in the renegotiation of FGN/NASU and SSANU agreement, non-payment of arrears of national minimum wage and usurpation of the headship of non-teaching Units.
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Others are neglect and poor funding of state universities, non-payment of retirement benefits to outgoing members, and non-constitution of visitation panels to universities.