Non-teaching workers of Nigerian universities, under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), have accused the Federal Government of giving preferential treatment to their academic counterparts, The Nation reports.
They warned that unless the government meets their demands, the warning strike, which ends today, may snowball into “mother of all strikes”.
The unions insisted that the government must release N30 billion to them for payment of their earned allowances.
According to them, giving 80 per cent of the money earlier released to universities to academic workers was too discriminatory. Their threat is coming as the National Universities Commission (NUC) issued a circular to Vice Chancellors of all Federal universities on the payment of salaries and arrears to teachers of university staff schools.
This has been a subject of industrial crisis between the government the unions since 2016.
Addressing reporters yesterday in Abuja, the nation’s capital, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the unions, led by SSANU’s National Vice-President/Zonal Chairman, Comrade Solomon Alfa, said the five-day warning strike, which started on Monday to press home their demands, was successful.
The two unions said the money they were demanding from government would be spent to close the gap created by the discriminatory disbursement of funds earlier approved for settlement of university workers’ Earned Allowances.
Alfa said the unions were not happy about government’s alleged discrimination in disbursing N25 billion allocated to Federal universities with the academic workers alone taking 80 per cent of the money. The union leader advised the government to immediately reopen renegotiation with them on the 2009 agreement, which he said was long overdue for renegotiation.
According to him, the unions were protesting the continued discriminatory practice by government in favour of the academic workers in the sharing of money meant for the payment of earned allowances.
“Consequently, the JAC of SSANU and NASU is demanding N30 billion from the Federal Government for payment to non-teaching workers in order to close the gap it created by the discriminatory allocations.
“Thereafter, JAC expects that government will not allow such dichotomy to raise its ugly head in the system against after defraying the balance,” he said.
Alfa said the unions decided to give further update on their warning strike.
The union leader said the strike was also an opportunity for the unions to create awareness abouth their actions.
He urge Nigerians to prevail on the government to prevent the “mother of all strikes” in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
Alfa added: “This repeated discriminatory practice by government of the day in favour of ASUU and against the non-teaching workers is not only worrisome but has portrayed the present government as bias as well as well as causing divide-and-rule capable of creating disharmony in the system as an avenue to crumble and kill the university education system.
“Therefore, the JAC of SSANU and NASU is calling on all Nigerians to condemn this act of government with a view to correcting itself.”