SSANU And NASU Strike Continues Into Second Day Amid Federal Government Criticism Of Hard-Line Approach

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Members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) have commenced a seven-day warning strike, entering its second day, to protest withheld salaries by the Federal Government.

The strike has effectively paralyzed activities across public universities in Nigeria, with hostels closed and electricity supply cut off.

The unions accuse the government of unfair treatment, alleging that salaries were paid to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) while neglecting non-academic staff.

The Federal Government has criticized the strike, citing it as contrary to the provisions of section 18 of the Trade Dispute Act.

Moreso,After issuing an initial notice on March 11, 2024, the unions followed through with their threat a week later, on March 18, 2024, by shutting down hostels, power supply, security, and administrative works in universities across the country.

Meanwhile,This move has drawn heavy criticism from Labour Minister Nkiruka Onyejeocha, who described the unions’ action as a total disregard for the Federal Government’s concerted effort to address their concerns, urging them to abandon their hard-line stance.

“The Minister has always maintained that strike does not serve any useful purpose and should only be resorted to as a last option after exhausting every conciliation effort.”

“She appeals to the SSANU and NASU to step back from their hard-line stance and meet the federal government at the table for conciliation,” said a statement from the office of the minister.

Also,SSANU President, Mohammed Ibrahim, has expressed dismay over what he perceives as discriminatory treatment by the government.

He questioned why academic staff were paid withheld salaries while non-academic staff were neglected. Ibrahim called out for fairness and equal treatment for all university staff members.

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the umbrella body of unions in the country, has thrown its support behind SSANU and NASU.

Moreover,NLC President, Joe Ajaero, criticized the government’s decision to withhold salaries, stating that it defies logic and could lead to avoidable industrial disputes.

He called on the Federal Government to address the concerns of SSANU and NASU to prevent further disruptions in the education sector.

However,The strike comes after an eight-month strike by university staff in 2022, which resulted in the government invoking a ‘No Work, No Pay policy.’

Although President Bola Tinubu approved the release of four months’ withheld salaries, SSANU and NASU remain dissatisfied with the treatment of non-academic staff.

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