FG halts salaries of university professors

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April 27 (THEWILL) – The federal government has decided to halt the salaries of university professors who are protesting the ongoing strike by its academic body, the University Academic Staff Union (ASUU).

Some union members upheld the “no work, no pay” policy towards striking teachers.

Confirming the development, ASUU Zone Coordinator, Abuja Zone Dr. Salahu Mohammed Lawal said their members have been denied salaries.

“Our members have been denied their salaries. We are not surprised to be a game plan to weaken and break our ranks,” he said.

For his part, the President of ASUU, branch of the University of Calabar (UniCal), Dr. John Edor, said: “It is true that the government has imposed the no work and pay policy on the strikers “, although he did not give the details. of the payments crisis.

Earlier, NAAT President Ibeji Nwokoma also confirmed that his union members had not received their full March salaries.

Nwokoma also accused the federal government of ignoring all notices and letters sent out in the hope of resolving some of the issues the union is facing.

“Instead of the Nigerian government inviting strikers to dialogue on the issue, they went ahead and implemented their ‘no work, no pay’ policy,” he said.

The ASUU had embarked on February 14 in a total and comprehensive strike of 4 weeks to pressurize its unresolved demands to the federal government.

The union, on March 14, extended the industrial action for another 2 months, citing the lack of seriousness on the part of the federal government to solve the problems.

Some of the faculty demands include funding for the revitalization of public universities, payment of earned academic allowances, adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS), and payment of promotion arrears.

Others are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement and the resolution of inconsistencies in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

Meanwhile, the federal government has deplored the current state of negotiations between it and ASUU.

The Minister of Labor and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, claimed that the union makes things difficult for both parties.

Ngige disclosed this in a statement issued by Patience Onuobia, Acting Head of Press and Public Relations at the ministry on Tuesday in Abuja.

The minister rejected insinuations that he was responsible for the union’s ongoing strike, insisting he did what many could not do to prevent the strike.

“For example, ASUU is pushing for the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to adopt the payment platform, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) that it developed.

“That they should deploy it for a fee in the university, whether it’s good or bad, whether it failed the integrity and vulnerability test or not.

“ASUU members know that payment platform fraud can run into the billions. If a hacker adds zeros to hundreds, it becomes billions,” he said.

The minister added that NITDA released the report of its test on the UTAS, stating that it passed user acceptability but failed the vulnerability and integrity tests which were the two critical tests that prevented the fraud, adding that NITDA said it could not take the platform at 99.9% vulnerability and integrity on a payment system.

“As a peacemaker, I spoke to ASUU and NITDA to continue the test and see if they can catch up and get to 100% because that’s what NITDA insists on.

“Those are the issues. So if you hear someone say that Ngige is responsible, that’s wrong. I am not the implementer. I am the conciliator,” Ngige said.

He added that during the negotiations, he also conciliates, so that there is no more war and “even in conciliation, once I apprehend, the parties return to the status quo ante – which means, you call off the strike.

“ASUU should have called off the strike now because that’s what the law says.

“Earlier, when we were convening the National Labor Advisory Council in Lagos last month, I urged the NLC to which ASUU is affiliated, to intervene in this regard,” Ngige added.

However, he also added that the Ministry of Labor had managed to reconcile 1,683 labor disputes since taking office in 2015.

“However, where conciliation fails, the Minister is bound under Sections 9 and 14 of the Commercial Disputes Act, Cap T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, to convey the results of the negotiation to the arbitration panel (IAP) or the National Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) Court of Nigeria (NICN).

“In the current ASUU imbroglio, I am the conciliator. I get them to negotiate with their employers.

“These are the Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission as well as IPPIS, the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, all under the Ministry of Finance.

“At the end of each negotiation, we put in writing what everyone agreed on and add deadlines for implementation,” he said.

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