Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) on Thursday demanded that its members should not be treated as second-rate workers in the university system in the country.
The association also made a case for a peaceful relationship between SSANU and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) for the impasse on the Earned Allowances to be resolved.
The demand was made at the 61st Quarterly Executive Council Meeting of Western Zone of SSANU held at Otunba Subomi Balogun Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Ibadan.
National Vice President of SSANU, and Chairman of Western Zone, Mr. Alfred Jimoh, and UI chapter of the association, Mr. Adewale Akinremi, made the demand in their separate speeches at the meeting.
On the level of compliance on the Earned Allowances across institutions in the country, Jimoh said: “I would say that the level is still very low; about 20 to 30 per cent had paid. Actually, a good number of them have not paid, but they are talking. I also want to give it to some of the chief executives in the universities, they are working on the best way to handle it in order not to cause crisis within the system.
“So, that informs the series of meetings they are having so that at the end of the day when they go ahead to pay, it is based on those places and the level of understanding of staff that are involved that they have gone ahead to pay.
“But those that have not been able to get the commitment of understanding from the members, particularly the three non-teaching unions, among which one of them is recalcitrant; it is those people that have not been able to get the commitment of understanding that we are still trying to discuss with them.”
Akinremi also noted that “unionism, over time, has evolved. The non-teaching unions on campuses consist of both technical and administrative professionals of diverse callings. It is apt to note that many of them are now Master’s and Ph.D degree holders who have chosen not to be in the classroom and possess a level of awareness and orientation that cannot be subjugated under any guise. With this level of consciousness, the congress and the executives of SSANU have interfaced with the management of these universities and landmark achievements have been recorded.”
Speaking on implementation of government agreements over Earned Allowances and staff school matters, Akinremi said: “Disaffection comes between government/agents and unions because often times governments or through its agents do not fulfill parts or all of the agreements reached with the unions. For example, the Federal government/Unions Agreements of 2009, particularly as it has to do with Earned Allowances, has not been fully addressed till date.
“Court judgment on teachers of staff schools of federal universities has not been implemented till date. There is bound to be peaceful co-existence if government would honour agreements and court judgments.
“We would also urge the Committee of Vice Chancellors to reconsider their stance on staff school matters in the general interest of the universities. Similarly, it is important to note that the recent onslaught by the NAAT over the release of the arrears of the Earned Allowances will yield no good than bad blood. Therefore, we make a passionate appeal that in the common good of all, and particularly the university system, we should bury the hatchet and allow peace to reign.”