The University of Jos (UNIJOS) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has commenced a fresh ‘strike’ to protest the half salaries paid its members for the month of October.
The union is also protesting the government’s refusal to pay the withheld eight months salaries over the prolonged strike by the union.
The union has, however, said it has not declared strike but that its members should stay away from work until the alleged injustice is remedied.
The National Vice President of ASUU, Chris Piwuna, who had earlier described the government’s action as “humiliating, insulting and embarrassing,” is a member of the chapter.
The chapter is the first to react to what Nigerian lecturers have described as mutilated salaries paid by the government for the month of October.
It is the first pay they have received since the suspension of the industrial action on 14 October, and they have said the government’s action does not reflect the understanding reached before the strike was suspended.
They have fingered the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, for being allegedly responsible for the “embarrassing treatment.”
“Stay at home” order
After its congress on Friday, ASUU-UNIJOS directed its members to continue staying at home until the salaries are paid. It, however, said it was not on strike.
“In view of the bottleneck placed by Ngige towards paying our members the backlog of our salaries, the congress of ASUU University of Jos met today 4th November, 2022 and resolved to stay at home, though not on strike, until the backlog of the withheld salaries are paid,” a statement signed by the chairman of ASUU-UNIJOS chapter, Lazarus Maigoro, reads in part.
Mr Maigoro said the lecturers have resumed and are ready to work but couldn’t as a result of lack of payment.
According to him, payment of the withheld salaries is part of the agreements the union had with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila before the strike was suspended.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our members are back to work, willing and ready to work but are unable to work. Based on the revised academic calendar for the 2020/2021 session approved by the senate of the university, lectures should have started already but the challenge of lack of payment of salaries has constrained our members from going to the classroom to teach. What this implies is that the students who have resumed already will have to wait indefinitly while we wait for our withheld salaries to be paid to us, unfortunately,” the statement added.
The union accused Mr Ngige of personalising the dispute between ASUU and the government.
“It has become crystal clear now that he (Mr Ngige) wasn’t happy that the House of Representatives brokered a truce on some of the issues we went on strike for and has gone behind to undermine it. It is also very clear to us now why he shamelessly walked out on the leadership of the House of Representatives at one of the meetings with all stakeholders to the glare of all Nigerians because he never wanted any form of resolution to be reached on the issues being discussed and is leaving no stone unturned to frustrate it, even though he piously prides himself as the chief conciliator of the nation,” the statement further added.
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