Again, NASU threatens strike over funding

The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the federal government to address funding anomalies in the nation’s research institutes and Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

This is happening at a time when the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had been on an indefinite strike since March over funding issues related to IPPIS and non-implementation of agreements the federal government reached with it in 2009.

Integrated Payroll and Personel Information System IPPIS is a salary payment scheme which the government claim will lead to better efficiency in tertiary education funding, but lecturers claim is an attempt to further infringe on university autonomy.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Makolo Hassan, president of NASU, said the union was warming up for a total shut down of tertiary educational institutions in the country.

“For almost 10 years, the government has failed to honour the content of the agreement it freely entered into with the Joint Research and Allied Institutions Sector Unions as contained in the year 2010 JORAISU/FGN Agreement,” he said.

“The listed issues include payment of 12 months arrears of 53.37 per cent salary increase, peculiar allowances and earned allowances.

“Also, the retirement age of 65 years for Non-Research staff as obtainable in the universities, withdrawal of circular on non-skipping of Salary Grade Level 10, that is the National Industrial Court’s judgement delivered in favour of the trade unions.

“Others include the establishment of a central body to be known as National Research Institutes Commission, adequate funding of Research Institutes and release of conditions of service.”

The union leader accused the government of refusing to pay attention to the union in spite of several reminders, strikes and memorandum of understanding entered into with the government on the matter.

“We, therefore, use the opportunity of this meeting to request the government to act speedily, particularly on the issue of the 12 months arrears,” he added.

“Except some concrete steps are taken within the next 14 days, NASU members in all the research institutes in Nigeria will be compelled to commence strike to press home their demand in this regard.”

The union leader also said that the government had not lived up to its promise of a hitch-free migration on the IPPIS. According to him, IPPIS has demonstrated a high level of incompetence and inefficiency.

He added that the union’s experience since it migrated to the platform had been a painful one.

“All efforts to get government and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation to redress the noticeable shortcomings has not yielded a positive result. The noticeable shortcomings include non-payment of salaries to some staff, underpayment of salaries, non-payment of approved allowances as contained in the year 2009 FGN/NASU Agreement as well as failure to pay check-off dues to the union as and when due,” Hassan said.

“Others are nonpayment of promotion arrears, non-deduction of welfare scheme, high taxation, non-release of pay-slips to workers, delay in payment of salaries and non-release of schedule of payments made.

“In the face of these challenges and the lukewarm attitude of the government and IPPIS office toward redressing these shortcomings, NASU may have no choice than to embark, as soon as possible, on a full-blown strike in the universities and inter-universities centres.

“Also, in polytechnics and colleges of education, except something is done very urgently to positively remedy the situation.”

For the past nine months, students in Nigerian public universities have been at home due to lecturers’ strike, if NASU goes on strike, students in polytechnics and colleges of education will also be affected.

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