The in-house unions of the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, on Monday locked the institution’s gate, preventing its management, staff and students from entering into the institution’s premises.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that representatives of the unions said that their action was to protest the delay in the payment of the new minimum wage to the staff of Lagos State tertiary institutions by the state government.
The unions comprise: the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU).
The unions told the management of LASU to resume duty at the Ministry of Education, Alausa, Lagos.
NAN reports that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had, during the 17th update on the management of the Coronavirus pandemic in Lagos State on Aug.29, asked the state-owned tertiary institutions to reopen on Sept. 14.
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the N30,000 new National Minimum Wage Act into law, effective April 18, 2019, thus repealing the Minimum Wage Act of 2011.
Dr Ibrahim Bakare, said that the school would remain shut if the new minimum wage was not paid to its staff.
Bakare said that the members of staff of all the tertiary institutions in Lagos State had resolved to prevent the institutions from reopening, if the state government did not begin to implement their minimum wage.
“On this issue, we have to comply with the directives of the joint tertiary institutions in Lagos State that, as from today, if the minimum wages of our members are not paid, then we will commence an indefinite strike.
“We believe that the state government will take the appropriate decision in terms of implementing the minimum wage and its arrears.
“Other workers from state parastatal agencies started enjoying the minimum wage increment 18 months ago. I do not understand why tertiary institutions should be an exemption.
“We had met with the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour and with other education stakeholders. But, there seems to be no readiness to commence the implementation of the new minimum wage,” the ASUU chairman said.
Bakare said that their members hoped that the government would implement and start paying their minimum wage by the end of this month.
Oseni said that they had continued working for 18 months since the implementation of the new minimum wage by the Federal Government; adding that they had not received anything from the state government.
“We thought the state government will do the needful but to our surprise the government is yet to commence the implementation of minimum wage.
“Other workers in the state have started receiving their minimum wages, yet we are all working for the same state.
“We are still getting the same salary as when a bag of rice was N7,000; and a dollar was N169 to a dollar.
“This is not just or fair, we want everybody to know that we have tried and waited long enough for the state government to implement the minimum wage,” he said.
Oseni added that it was the hard work and commitment of staff, which made LASU one of the best universities in the nation, adding that government needed to compensate them.
“The problem is not with our management but our government. The government needs to rise up and do the needful,” the SSANU chairman said.Mr Moruf Sanni, Chairman, NASU, LASU chapter, threatened that even, if the staff and students stayed outside the school gate till the next day, they would not allow anybody to enter into the school premises.
Sanni said that government did not appreciate their services and work so they needed to acknowledge government’s actions with corresponding action of their own.
Fagbohun said that every state in the country was challenged due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which had affected a lot of things, especially, the state’s finances.
“We will continue to dialogue with the unions until we are able to have an amicable resolution.
“We assure our students that there will not be any problem regarding resumption, LASU has resumed academic activities but we will resolve every issue with the unions,” the Vice-Chancellor said.
Abdulbasit Ashade, President of Lagos State Students Union, said that the management and unions had been sacrificing a lot in order for the students to be able to resume peacefully.
Ashade said that it was unfortunate that students got to the campus gate this morning to find that the unions were refusing students, staff and management access into the institution.
“We hope they will allow the students to have access to school because they should realise that students have stayed long enough in their homes.
“We need to start lectures and write our examinations very soon.
“We want the government to attend to the unions. Since the state government had implemented the new minimum wage for other categories of workers, they should also do the same in all tertiary institutions in the state,” he said.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Peter Dada
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige to meet with the organised labour, to avert possible industrial crises due to increment in Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and electricity tariff. The minister made this known when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of a closed door meeting with President Buhari in Abuja on Friday. According to him, the meeting, which has been fixed for Sept. 12, will deliberate on state of the nation’s economy, particularly the dwindling government revenues as it affects the generality of Nigerians He stated that he updated the president on the activities of his ministry soon after he briefed the President on the state of affairs in his Ministry. “The President has approved for us to have a bigger government side meeting with the organized private labour; all the government institutions that have to do with the finances of government so that we meet with them and show them the books. “So, the invitation is going out to them this afternoon, the Nigeria Labour Congress, the trade union congress and their affiliates or supporters and friends in the Civil Society Organisations. “The meeting is scheduled for tomorrow (Sept. 12), so, I will relate more with the Chief of Staff to the President and the leadership of the unions today so that we do this meeting tomorrow. “At the meeting, government finances, challenges and everything will be laid bare on the table. Their own fears and what they think is also good for the Nigerian people especially the workers, they will also table it so that we look at it.,” he said. He explained that the recent upward review of electricity tariff was done by the regulatory body based on certain realities confronting the sector. He said: “The electricity tariff as you know, the Electricity Regulatory Commission approved the increase based on certain electricity bands R1 and R2 and even in the R2 band, you have soft bands so that we can protect the rural poor and people who are in the suburbs. “So, we are going to look at them holistically because we want a stable labour industrial union in the country so the President has been briefed and he is in tune and has given the support to talk to everybody we need to talk to.” On the planned strike by the tripartite unions of the non-academic staff unions of universities, the minister said the government had already invited the leadership of the unions to a meeting to address their concerns. “The tripartite unions of university system including some colleges of education and some hospitals; Non-Academic Staff of Universities (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), we have invited them to a meeting. “The leadership met with me last week and the major thrust of the challenges they have is on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS) system. “They claim and allege that the IPPIS system is over deducting some line items like taxes, the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) taxes they claim the IPPIS system is charging more than they are supposed to debit. “They also claim that some allowances that are peculiar to the university system like responsibility allowance, hazard allowance, field trip allowance and education of children allowance, that the IPPIS has stopped all of them. “At the government level, we have discussed and we now want to do a special session with them, they come with their facts and the Accountant General will lead his team, the National Salaries and Incomes and Wages will also come and the Ministry of Labour will lead and then we discuss and find out who is treating the other unfairly,’’ he explained. Ngige lauded the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) for suspending their nationwide strike. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the president of the association, Aliyu Sokumba on Sept. 10, announced the suspension of the strike, saying NARD would review the progress made in talks with the Federal Government in two weeks. Edited By: Sadiya Hamza Source: NAN
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), has called for the re-composition of the Special Visitation Panel to look into the purported removal of Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos.
Mr Samson Ugwoke, SSANU President, made the call in a letter addressed to the President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Education and the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission on Monday in Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria recalls that on Aug. 18, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had called Mr President to constitute a special visitation panel to look into the purported removal of the Vice-Chancellor.
According to Ugwoke, SSANU writes to observe the recent directive circulated through the media, dated 21st August 2020 and signed by the Director Press and Public Relations in the Federal Ministry of Education on the above subject matter.
“While SSANU appreciates the prompt intervention of the visitor in the ongoing crisis and the sincere efforts in nipping the crisis in the bud.
“The directives of the visitor as contained in the Press Release have a further tendency to cause more crisis as issues bordering on due process and fair hearing have been trampled upon arising from the visitor’s directives under reference,” he said.
Ugwoke said that there was need to review the composition and members of the Special Visitation Panel as the crisis in the University of Lagos has ASUU members as a major participants in the Panel, adding that indeed, ASUU is the complainant in this matter.
He noted that the composition of the Special Visitation Panel with a preponderance of Professors, who were ASUU members is an indication that the decision of the panel would be tampered with by the union.
He also said that the fact that they are former Vice- Chancellors also implies the tendency to protect one of their own, an embattled Vice-Chancellor.
“It is our informed observation, therefore, that a fair and unbiased panel, representative of all stakeholders in the University system should have included at least a retired Registrar, a retired Bursar, and a prominent individual with undoubted integrity, who should be a former Pro-Chancellor and not a Professor, as Chairman of the Panel.
“With the present composition and membership of the panel, the Federal Government may have unwittingly handed over the panel to ASUU to return victory to its member and condemn all others.
“The principle of natural justice is lost in the present composition of the visitation panel and it is totally condemned by SSANU,” he said.
SSANU president also commended the intention of the visitor by directing the recusal of the Pro- Chancellor and Professor Ogundipe from official duties during the period of the visitation.
He added that it is assumed that the directive on recusal is to enforce peace in the university pending the outcome of the visitation.
“To the best of our knowledge, the decision to remove Professor Ogundipe was a decision of council and not Babalakin.
“It would have been fairer if the visitor had directed the entire council to recuse itself from official duties until the end of the panel’s assignment than asking Babalakin alone to recuse himself.
“We wish to therefore observe that this directive personalises the decisions of council to Dr. Babalakin, which in itself does not do justice to the issues on ground,” he said.
Ugwoke, while speaking on the the directive to University Senate to convene to elect an Acting Vice Chancellor, noted that the visitor to the University of Lagos Senate should hold a Special meeting to elect an Acting Vice-Chancellor conflicts with Paragraph 3(iii) of the same visitors directive.
“SSANU has reason to fear if the visitor had not been compromised by some forces within the University system whose entrenched interests are already manifesting in the conflicting directives.
“From the above conflicting directives, it is only obvious that the visitation panel would only be working to the answer,” he added.
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) said they would proceed on strike over unresolved issues with the Federal Government immediately the universities reopen.
Mr Samson Ugwoke, the Chairman, Joint Action Committee (JAC) of both unions said this while addressing newsmen on the resolutions reached by the unions on Thursday in Abuja.
The unions’ grievances included the lingering Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) debacle, non payment of arrears of earned allowance and minimum wage.
Others are the alleged lack of seriousness by the Babalakin Committee renegotiating the 2009 , SSANU agreements, neglect and poor funding of state universities, absence of visitation panels, among others.
According to Ugwoke, long after many other sectors had been paid the arreas of the national minimum wage and consequential adjustment, university workers are yet to be paid.
“We find this development totally unwholesome and very unhealthy.
“Given the time lag of over a year since it was implemented in other sectors, members of the public would agree that we have been patient enough in the university system,” he said.
He pointed out that in spite of the series of letters by the unions to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) Office since February, their members were still confronted with many challenges, including salary payment.
Ugwuoke also said that their members, whose monthly salaries were being paid in the second week of the following month in the past seven months, were suffering as a result of the difficulties posed by IPPIS.
He argued that as responsible unions, they had avoided the planned action, adding that the unhealthy situation had made it inevitable.
Ugwoke said: “We have again cried out to the general public with a view to inviting stakeholders and well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to correct the anomaly of IPPIS.
”Pay us the arrears of both earned allowances and minimum wage, among others.”
He warned that the unions would have no option than to embark on strike effective from when universities would reopen after the COVID-19 lockdown.
“If by the time schools are asked to reopen and the needful is not done, it means hope is lost and the avoidable industrial conflict becomes inevitable.
“This is what we seek to avert, hence this outcry and call for government’s positive and timely response,” he said.
Edited By: Sam Oditah/Felix Ajide (NAN)
The Federal Government has directed bursars of universities to compile list of problems associated with payment of salaries through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, made this known while addressing newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.
The minister also spoke on the notice of strike issued by the non teaching staff in universities and allegation of payment of half salaries to staff by the IPPIS office.
Ngige said federal government was in touch with bursars of universities to compile all the problems associated with the payment of salaries through the IPPIS platform so that they could be addressed.
“We are on top of the situation, we have received their letter. Their letter borders on shortcomings of the IPPIS system and I have spoken with the Finance Minister and the Accountant General of the Federation.
“They said that they are in touch with the university bursars to correct certain peculiarities and send back to them to treat.
“However, it’s important to point out that one of the shortcomings which the universy workers pointed out is that the IPPIS is over taxing them.
“They also said that the IPPIS skipped some of their people who have taken leave of absence. These are matters that can be easily adjusted.
“The IPPIS office informed me that immediately the lockdown is over, the bursars are to come up, but before then that they should by e-system try to give them additional information on some of those shortcomings and that they will try as much as possible to correct them.
“We have equally gone out to the unions and asked them that we want to meet with them and the IPPIS; so we are trying to see if we can arrange a special pass so that their leaders could come up here and we would have the meeting,” he said.
Ngige said since zoom meeting would not be able to correct some of the problems, government had decided to have a physical meeting as soon as possible.
He said that his office was planning to apply for special pass from the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for a physical meeting with the unions to thrash out all the contentious issues.
Ngige said his ministry had received the strike notice from the non teaching staff unions in the universities and was making efforts to meet with the leaderships of the unions.
It would be recalled that the Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU), has threatened to embark on strike over problems associated with the payment of salary through the IPPIS platform.
The non teaching staff has also issued a 14-day ultimatum to the government to correct all the problems associated the IPPIS and the release of their Earned Allowances before the easing of the lockdown, otherwise its members will not resume duty when schools resume.
Mr Samson Ugwoke, Chairman of JAC and President of SSANU, in a telephone interview, said that non teaching staff of universities have been passing through hardship since they enrolled into the IPPIS platform.
Ugwoke noted that in the past four months, members have not received full salaries, while deductions made for the servicing of bank loans which members took have not been remitted to the banks and cooperative societies.
“Since the inception of the IPPIS contrary to what the platform is supposed to be, what we were told and what we believed before we accepted the platform.
“SSANU members and the non teaching staff in the universities have not received complete salaries.
“From January 2020 till date, we have not received full salaries and since that time till now, no pay slip has been released by IPPIS to the universities. So all that our members have received as net pay is what IPPIS wants to give us.
“It’s that worse because if you have your pay slip, you will know what are the deductions made from your salary.
“Up till now, the other deductions that are meant for our members and their welfare are being withheld by the IPPIS and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
“They deducted tax and paid to the Federal Government, they deducted welfare money, they deducted cooperative society funds, deducted loans and withheld it since that time, ” he said.
He said that the implication was that salaries have not been paid in full since the inception of the IPPIS.
He said that some members were indebted to cooperative societies, banks, among others, by agreement reached with the organisations, the repayments are made monthly.
He added that the accumulating interest are compounding the problem on our members.
Ugwoke noted that other issues affecting the non teaching staff include the earned allowances, payment of benefits, pension of retired members, retirement age, among others.
“We have written to the Minister of Labour and Employment, we are yet to get a reply even though they are talking about calling us for a meeting.
“But we insist, you do not need to call a meeting to pay us full salary or release pay slips. We have made it clear to the minister that they should do the needful.
“We have also made it very clear that if all these things are not addressed, any time the universities are going to reopen after the lockdown, we are going to embark on total strike.
“We have written to notify them that we will commence a 14-day warning strike in the first instance and thereafter it will be total and indefinite,” he said.
Edited By: Saidu Adamu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has expressed strong displeasure over the irregularities witnessed in the payment of February salaries for its members using the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The Association expressed its view in a statement signed by Mr Salaam Olayiwola, SSANU National Public Relations Officer, and made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja.
According to Olayiwola, IPPIS is government payment platform, which we keyed into, with the understanding that the platform would greatly improve personnel accountability in the system thereby reducing the spate of corruption in our universities.
“Kindly recall that we keyed into the IPPIS with an understanding that all the peculiarities in the University system, particularly pertaining to our members would be adequately addressed.
“Also, especially the issues of allowances, appointments, increments and third party deductions among others.
“Various concerns were raised and our fears were allayed through various correspondences, meetings and practical sessions where the application was displayed and all issues brought forward were addressed, ” he said.
He explained that it was only after exhausting all queries and getting satisfactory answers that the union and its Joint Action Committee counterpart Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, decided to key into the platform in the overall interest of the system and its members.
Olayiwola added that it was shocking to them that their first real taste of the IPPIS application was totally different from what was presented. All the concerns raised by their unions were not implemented and disregarded.
He said apart from the breach of trust, which had now manifested, the members across the universities were groaning from various anomalies witnessed in their salaries thereby forcing them into great hardships “which they never bargained for when they keyed into the IPPIS.
“As a leadership, this is totally unacceptable!
“The recent development has once again shown, despite our attempts to test otherwise, that Government can never be trusted.
“As such, based on what we have been subjected to with the February salary, we do not blame our lecturer counterparts, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), for resisting the IPPIS from the beginning.
“It is on the strength of the above that we demand that the office of the Accountant General of the Federation reverts us to the GIFMIS platform, which was working seamlessly before IPPIS was introduced.
“It is getting clearer that our trust in government and its agencies on the IPPIS issue was clearly misplaced, ” he said.
He, however, added that an understanding had been reached with ASUU to integrate the ASUU proposed University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) into the IPPIS.
“While we place on record, the right of ASUU to reach an understanding with the government on this hybrid payment platform, we note that this can only be implemented for ASUU members as at today and if it is to be implemented across board.
“It must be with the consent of the other university based unions; having keyed into the IPPIS project and gotten an unsavory first taste, we shall not accept any other payment platform, which does not carry us along.
“If UTAS is a general University payment platform, we must be guaranteed that its features accommodate the peculiar needs and challenges of the non-teaching staff in the system.
“If this is not guaranteed, the hybrid application shall be rejected in totality by our members.
“We demand that Government immediately looks into the anomalies witnessed in the February 2020 salary payments through the IPPIS platform and ensure rectification of these anomalies because the situation as at today cannot guarantee industrial peace in the system,” he said.
Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Felix Ajide
NNN: The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has threatened an industrial action over delay in the payment of their new minimum wage by the Federal Government.
SSANU stated this in a statement signed by Mr Salaam Abdussobur, its National Public Relations Officer, and made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja.
It said that it was unfortunate that while workers in other sectors have started enjoying the new wage, university workers appeared to have been forgotten.
The association said the delay was unfair even after the federal government and the organised labour had concluded negotiations on the new minimum wage and the consequential adjustment, the university workers were yet to be paid the new wage.
According to the statement, the association expresses its dismay over the delay in the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage for its members and workers in the university system.
“We note that the negotiations over the National Minimum Wage was quite protracted and spanning over a period of two years.
“With the conclusion of the negotiations, it was assumed that the implementation would be seamless and require no further agitations to ensure it is equalised across all the sectors of employees.
“Unfortunately, however, months after the agreements were concluded and dusted, it seems the workers in the university system have been forgotten in the scheme of things.
“While workers in other sectors have started enjoying the increment in the salaries, the university system has not.
“Sadly, prices of goods and services immediately shot up as soon as the minimum wage was implemented in those sectors, and with the university sector still operating on the old minimum wage, thereby causing financial hardships and difficulties for our members,” the statement added.
The association said that as members were patiently waiting to be paid the new wage, there has not been any explanation from the government why the payment was delayed.
“As a consequence, our members are becoming increasingly restive and agitated over the obvious neglect of the university sector in the implementation of the national minimum wage act.
“It is sad and unfortunate that there has been no reason adduced for this delay,” it said.
The association therefore declared that: “We hereby draw the attention of the Federal Government and all relevant stakeholders to this delay and demand the implementation of the new wage regime and payment of its arrears without further delay.
“We have been patient enough and have shown great understanding with government on many of its policies.
”This understanding and patience should however not be at the expense or to the detriment of our welfare and incomes.
“With the situation of things, it is becoming clearer to us that except an industrial action is undertaken, the new national minimum wage may never be implemented in the university system.
“We hereby sound a note of warning to ensure the immediate payment of the minimum wage in order to guarantee industrial peace in the university system.”
Edited By: Janefrances Oraka/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
Two non-academic unions of the University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday commenced an indefinite industrial strike over failure of the institution’s management to meet their demands.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the unions – Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) – locked the UI gate, thus stalling academic activities in the campus.
Speaking with NAN, Mr Wale Akinremi, Chairman of SSANU in UI, said the industrial action would continue until the university management yielded to their demands.
He noted that the initial seven and 14-day ultimatum had lapsed and the institution’s management was yet to do their bidding.
He said the demands were full reinstatement of staff school teachers, stoppage of illegal pension deductions and continuation of their October increment, which was stopped in 2019.
According to him, other demands include the the appointment of SSANU members in the disciplinary committee of the trial of their members or when treating their case.
“As well as stopping arbitrary redeployment of senior members of staff when there is any issue as if they are messengers; even messengers are not to be redeployed anyhow.
“UI management is using autocratic power to deal with our members,” he said.
Also speaking, NASU chairman, Mr Malachy Etim, said the indefinite strike was necessary, having exhausted all communication avenues without success.
He said:, “We had a meeting with UI management on Tuesday, and we told them our plights.
“The present management lacks the system of communicating with us.
“You will write two to four letters and none will be acknowledged, not to talk of responding to the issues raised”.
Mr Tunji Oladejo, UI Director of Communication, said the university management had met with the unions on the need to allow harmonious and peaceful cooperation on the campus and assured that their demands would be looked into.NAN)
Edited By: Moses Solanke/Wale Ojetimi