SSANU, NASU begins nationwide strike amid salary disparity dispute

In response to perceived unfair treatment and salary discrepancies from the Federal Government, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, and the Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU has initiated a nationwide strike beginning today (Monday).

SSANU President, Mohammed Ibrahim, confirmed the commencement of the strike during an appearance on Channels Television’s The Morning Show programme, stating, “the strike has indeed commenced.”

Effective immediately, all staff members affiliated with SSANU and NASU in various university departments including registry, bursary, maintenance, security, and student affairs have ceased their services. This action effectively halts administrative operations across public universities in Nigeria. The strike is set to persist for the next seven days, pending resolution of the issues raised by the unions.

He lamented that no government representative has reached out to the non-academic unions and though some have reached out unofficially, their assurances cannot be taken to the bank.

Ibrahim sensed some “saboteurs in his government” and wondered why President Bola Tinubu would give an instruction that members of varsity unions be paid 2022 arrears and some government officials won’t fully comply.

The SSANU President said the Labour Minister Nkiruka Onyejeocha has not reached out to the aggrieved unions despite that a seven-day notice was issued last Monday, a development he said was a departure from the responsiveness of the ex-Labour Minister Chris Ngige.

Ibrahim said should the government fail to heed the demands of the unions after the seven-day warning strike which commenced today, SSANU and NASU would go back to their toolbox and decide the next line of action.

Last Monday, March 11, 2024, SSANU and NASU threatened to shut down hostels and power supply in universities across the country if the Federal Government fails to meet its demands before today, March 18, 2024.

The SSANU President had said his members including Vice Chancellors, registrars and bursars have not been paid 2022 arrears.

“Shutting down the university is clearly beyond how it will affect the students because it’s everybody; there will be no electricity, there will be no water, there will be no security, there will be no hostels for students, and there will be no administration,” he had stated.

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The SSANU leader had berated the Federal Government for paying withheld salaries to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU while neglecting other unions like SSANU and NASU.

The unions had embarked on an eight-month strike in 2022 to press home some of their demands including a better welfare package. The administration of then President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently invoked a ‘No Work, No Pay policy’ against the unions but Tinubu last October approved the release of four of the eight months withheld salaries for ASUU members.

Ibrahim had said all instruments of communication had failed hence the need for the action.

He had accused the office of the Accountant General, through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System office, of treating SSANU and NASU with disdain despite that the President granted waivers that all unions that embarked on the industrial action in 2022 be paid.

Ibrahim attributed the whole episode to misplacement of priority, saying that the university is a chain and “you don’t treat a group differently and others indifferently”.

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