By Gabriel Dike
Non academic staff unions in federal and state universities will, today, begin an indefinite strike, to protest the sharing formula of the N23 billion released by the Federal Government to settle earned allowances.
The decision to resume the suspended strike was taken at a meeting of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) made up of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) in Abuja, last week.
SSANU, NASU and NAAT members in some universities, last Monday, disrupted academic and administrative activities over the sharing formula adopted by government, in payment of outstanding earned allowance.
In the formula adopted by the federal government, non academic staff were allocated 11 per cent of the N23 billion as against 89 per cent, for academic staff, in the universities.
In a joint letter signed by SSANU President, Samson Uwoke, that of NAAT, Sani Suleiman and NASU, Chris Ani, they urged members to resume the suspended indefinite strike as from 12 midnight of Sunday, December 3.
The letter to that effect, titled: “Directive to immediately resume the suspended strike,” informed branch chairmen that the strike should be total and comprehensive.
JAC disclosed a protest letter was sent to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamau rejecting the allocation made by the office of the ministry’s Permanent Secretary and based on that, government was given seven days to explain criteria for the sharing formula. According to JAC, the deadline for the protest letter elapsed without any response from the federal government, thus the directive for members to resume the suspended strike.
SSANU Public Relations Officer, Mr. Abdussobur Salaam, said all universities have the same problem of skewed and disproportionate allocation and described it as a national issue.
He added: “The University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolow University’s reactions are spontaneous and unprompted. Not all the universities can react spontaneously to injustice.”
Following the suspension of an indefinite strike by the academic and non-academic staff of the universities, the federal government released N23 billion to 24 federal universities to pay the Earned Academic Allowance (EEA) for 2009/2010.
Last week, non academic unions in UI and OAU, Ile-Ife protested against allocation of N18.3 billion for academic staff and N4.6 billion to SSANU, NAAT and NASU members, out of N23 billion released by the federal government.
Academic staff of UI got N1.6 billion while non-teaching staff were allocated N105 million. At OAU, ASUU received N1.6 billion while N168 million was allocated to the three other unions.
Last Thursday, members of SSANU, NAAT and NASU of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) kicked against the sharing formula and demonstrated on campus. The three unions got N105, 709,758.33 while ASUU received N1, 626,117,386.20. UI Vice Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, appealed to the aggrieved workers to allow normalcy return to campus and direct their grievances to the appropriate quarters. Some branch chairmen told Daily Sun that Joint Action Committee (JAC) of their branches will meet today, to endorse the indefinite strike.
According to the chairmen, members have been mobilised for the industrial action and they stated that administrative activities will be paralysed in federal and state universities until the federal government addresses skewed allocation.