By G9ija

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has intervened in the lingering disagreement between the Federal Government and unions in the tertiary institutions that has crippled activities in the nation’s universities.

As a result, the congress issued a 21-one day ultimatum to the government to resolve the issues with members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), and National Association of Academic Technologist (NAAT).

This was contained in a communique jointly signed on Wednesday in Abuja by NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, and the congress’ General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja.

Following a meeting with the leaders of the affected unions, Wabba expressed serious concerns over the failure of the government to honour its 2009 re-negotiated agreement with them.

He stated that after the expiration of the ultimatum, the NLC would decide on the next line of action should the government fail to resolve the impasse within the period.

Read the full text of the communique below:

Preamble:

Congress scheduled and convened a meeting with affiliate Education Sector Unions on the 12th of April 2022. The overarching objective of the meeting was to take reports on the ongoing industrial dispute cum action in Nigeria’s University system.

The meeting which was presided by the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress had in attendance the Presidents of the following unions:

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU);

Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU);

Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU); and

National Association of Academic Technologist (NAAT).

It would be recalled that acting proactively after meeting with affiliates in the education sector, the Nigeria Labour Congress on 18th August 2020 wrote the Honourable Ministers of Education, Labour and Employment, Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Accountant General of the Federation in a letter titled “REQUEST FOR YOUR URGENT INTERVENTION IN THE BREWING CRISIS IN NIGERIA’S TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS OVER THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INTEGRATED PAYROLL PERSONEL INFORMATION SYSTEM AND OTHER INDUSTRIAL CONCERNS IN OUR IVORY TOWER”.

Unfortunately, only the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment through a letter dated 28th August 2020 acknowledged the letter conveying our concerns for Nigeria’s tertiary education.

Issues in Dispute:

As captured in the letters under reference, the key issues in disputes in the current crises bedevilling Nigeria’s tertiary education include:

Re-negotiation of the 2009 Agreement which is expected to be reviewed every three years;

Challenges with the implementation of the Integrated Payment Payroll Information System (IPPIS);

Funding of University and Tertiary Education System in Nigeria;

Non-payment of Arrears of Minimum Wage for University staff; and

Earned Allowances for both Academic and Non-Academic Staff of Nigeria’s Universities.

Our Concerns:

The intermittent and protracted strikes and other industrial actions in Nigeria’s public tertiary education system;

Non-Implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreements signed with unions in Nigeria’s tertiary education system which touch on university funding, earned allowances, and other welfare issues facing universities staff; and

The fate of more than 95% of Nigerian students constituted largely by children of the poor who cannot afford to pay the average of One Million Naira school fees charged by private tertiary institutions and who are currently idling away at home while the children of the rich continue with their education.

Our Resolutions:

In light of the foregoing concerns, the meeting resolved as follows:

Called on the Federal Government to immediately set up a High-Powered Panel constituted of members with requisite mandates to resolve within 21 days the foregoing issues militating against industrial harmony in Nigeria’s university system; and

Pursuant to the foregoing resolution, the Nigeria Labour Congress would be convening a Special Meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of all the Affiliate Unions of the Congress to decide on the next line of action.

Signed

Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, mni

President General Secretary