ASUU, CONUA To Tackle FG Over Withheld Salaries

With the insistence of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Congress of University Academics (CONUA) that the Federal Government must pay the withheld salaries of their members, the two unions may soon close ranks against the government to push through their demand.

As the new crisis brews, some stakeholders have called on the government to quickly resolve all issues with the unions to save the university system from imminent collapse.

Recall that ASUU held an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting last Tuesday over the payment of pro-rata October salaries to its members. Although it ended the meeting with a resolution not to embark on another strike as a result of the development, the union condemned what it described as attempt by the Federal Government to turn the academics into casual workers through the ‘pro-rata’ payment for 18 days.

The university lecturers had suspended their eight months strike on October 14 and only worked for 18 days last month. The Federal Government insisted on implementing the ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy for the period the university teachers were away from their duty posts.

In a statement after the end of the NEC meeting, the ASUU National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, declared that the university teachers are intellectuals and casual workers.

He said the union suspended its eight-month strike on October 14, 2022 in obedience to the order of the National Industrial Court and in further consideration of the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Osodeke described the action of the union as a display of manifest trust in the judiciary and other institutions and organs of government to always put national interest above all other considerations.

CONUA, in its reaction to the development stated that since it did not declare the strike as such, lumping its members together with the ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy must be a mistake.

A statement that was jointly issued by both the National President of CONUA, Dr. Niyi Sunmonu; National Secretary, Dr. Henry Oripeloye and the National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Ernest Nwoke, stated categorically that CONUA was never on strike and this being the case, the policy of “No Work, No Pay” ought not apply to its members.

“CONUA members were only unable to perform their full duties because of the lock-out as the students were asked to vacate the universities and the system was shut down.

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