The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has backed the Academic Staff Union of Universities over the proposed sharing formula for the N22.1 billion earned allowances for university workers.
Nwajiuba spoke in an interview with our correspondent on Tuesday,
N22.1 billion earned allowance proposed by the Federal Government would be released to ASUU; the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions; Non-Academic Staff Union; and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities.
It was also gathered that ASUU had proposed to take 75 percent of the total fund, leaving the other unions with 25 percent.
SSANU and NASU had rejected the sharing formula and had embarked on a three-day nationwide protest.
But in an interview with The PUNCH, Nwajiuba said it was impossible for the unions to share the allowance equally.
The minister explained, “The issue of percentage is not meant to be as difficult as this. It cannot be the same. The issue of earned allowances is a matter of individuality. We have rate for each category of worker.
“In the university system, we have professors and that is like one of the highest ranks, you have associate lecturers, you have readers. Now, ASUU has lots of professors and senior lecturers. The rates for these people are much higher.
“When you go to SSANU and NASU, you talk of the librarians, and the laboratory workers. They do not have professors in their unions. That is why it seems as if ASUU is getting a higher percentage. No one is side-lining SSANU and NASU. “They are both important in the system but you can’t pay a union with a great number of higher ranks the same percentage with other unions. It is not possible and that is why we wanted to pay directly to individual accounts.”