Workers threaten strike over removal of staff school from varsities’ budgets

Wabba, Buhari and Yari

Wabba, Buhari and Yari

THE Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has threaten to embark on industrial strike to protest plans by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to remove university staff schools from the budget of various federal universities.

Speaking on the impending labour crisis in the universities, SSANU President, Samson Ugwoke, while urging President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie to order, said the strike will also involve other non-teaching staff unions in the ivory towers.

He added that SSANU has already mobilized all its members from the states to Federal level to prepare for a prolong strike.

It would be recalled that the NUC issued a circular directing the management of all universities to stop the funding of their staff schools, saying such school are ‘private schools’.

The commission also said that SSANU and other university-based unions were aware of the decision taken on the issue and should know where to direct their grievances, adding that their grouse should be directed to National Income, Salaries and Wages Commission.

But SSANU President insisted that the schools are ‘demonstration schools’ and not private in the thinking of the NUC Scribe.

He pointed out that with the position of NUC and the offensive circular, if President Buhari failed to stop the NUC, the strike is imminent as all the varsity workers have been mobilized and ready.

His words: “SSANU has a way of handling its matter, we have started from the branches, to the zones, the strategizing and campaign is going all over the country; calling the attention of government to do one thing, that is to do the needful and what is right. This press conference may be the end, you will not hear from us until we take action. So, strike is imminent.”

“I don’t understand anyone that says SSANU was there when the decision was taken. All we know about staff schools is the Agreement of 2009. We negotiated the 2001 Agreement and the issue of Staff Schools funding was there, we renegotiated same Agreement in 2009 and in that Agreement, we all agrees that status quo should remain. That government should continue to fund staff school bother recurrent and capital expenditures. That was all we know.

“At Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC), I have a document signed by Dr. B.O. Babalakin, the then Chairman of IMC, written to universities pointing out that staff schools was part of 2009 Agreement and should not be tampered with. Prof Okojie should tell Nigerians at which forum was the decision to remove staff schools from government funding. The only forum should be to call for renegotiation and we have written letters to the Federal Government calling for renegotiation.”

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