From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that the federal government paying its members half salary in October is an attempt at reducing them to casual workers.
The union, in a communique issued after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Tuesday, said it would continue to explore means of resolving the crises in the university system within the ambits of the law.
ASUU suspended its eight-month strike on 14th October 2022, in obedience to the order of the National Industrial Court and in further consideration of intervention efforts of well-meaning Nigerians, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The union had insisted on getting backlog payment for the eight months it was on strike while the federal government says it will only pay for the time the lecturers worked.
While lecturers in some universities have threatened another strike action until their salaries are fully paid, ASUU held an NEC meeting on Monday to decide the union’s next line of action.
The communique read: “Unfortunately, the response of government towards ASUU’s demonstration of trust was the so-called ‘pro-rata’ payment for eighteen days as the October 2022 salaries of academics thereby portraying them as daily paid workers! This is not only an aberration but a contravention of all known rules of engagement in any contract of employment for academics the world over.
“At an emergency meeting of the ASUU’s National Executive Committee (NEC), held on Monday, 7 November 2022, the Union deliberated on developments since the suspension of the strike.
“NEC noted with dismay that paying academics on a “pro-rata” basis, like casual workers, is unprecedented in the history of university-oriented labour relations and therefore condemned this attempt to reduce Nigerian scholars to casual workers in its entirety.
“NEC commends the membership of ASUU for their perseverance in the face of untold hardship and unwarranted provocation by some notorious agents of the ruling class, NEC further appeals for the understanding of Nigerian students, parents and other genuinely concerned individuals and groups while the Union continues to pursue positive resolution of this avoidable crisis within the ambit of legality without compromising the interests and welfare of Nigerian intellectuals.”