Today, September 25, 2017, The Federal government and the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the non-teaching staff of Nigerian Universities have reached an agreement over the ongoing strike by the workers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting between the Federal Government and the unions lasted about 11 hours.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said this at a conciliatory meeting with the leadership of the JAC of the unions and other officials of the Ministry of Education on Friday in Abuja.
The National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) all embarked on a strike on Monday, 11th September, 2017 over non-implementation of 2009 agreement.
The demands of the union included;
- Payment of earned allowances.
- Review of the governance system in universities.
- Improved funding in line with UNESCO recommendations.
- Provision of infrastructure in Universities.
- Payment of salary shortfall being owed.
- Implementation of the National Industrial Court Judgment on University staff schools.
- Registration of NUPEMCO.
- The Pension Fund Administrator proposed for University workers.
Sen. Ngige however said agreements had been reached on all the issues listed above.
““We held discussions on all these areas and we reached agreement on all of them; government has already approved and released some N23 billion for earned allowances in the Universities” he said.
“This is however for teaching and non-teaching staff of the various universities in Nigeria”.
“We agreed on this that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation is to expedite action on mandate for this payment”.
“We have the issue of shortfall; the issue is already being addressed and some universities are already credited with some amount of money for their short falls, ‘’ he said.
Ngige, who also reacted to the issue of inadequate infrastructure and poor funding of universities, said the Ministry of Education was in the process of inaugurating a nine-man committee that would develop an alternative means of sourcing for funds.
He said the Salaries and Wages Income Commission had initiated the process of ensuring compliance with the NIC judgment, expressing the hope that this would be completed within four weeks
“Also on the negotiation of the 2009 agreement, we realized that Babalakin Committee is handling that and has collected memorandum from the various unions,’’ he added.
It was agreed upon that government should intensify efforts to checkmate the excesses of corrupt officials in the university system. The government also agreed that whistle blowers would be protected.
The meeting further agreed that universities should operate the Treasury Single Account and that the office of the Accountant General of the Federation should investigate cases of those operating multiple accounts.
“We also agreed that government should expedite action and send visitation panels to Federal Universities that have not been visited and revisit the previous visitation panels for the purpose of implementation of their recommendations” – Ngige.
“Finally, it was agreed that the union members should not be victimized on account of this journey they have undertaken to go on strike and the unions are to revert to government on Wednesday, Sept. 20, after presenting this to their National Executive Councils, ‘’he said.
Mr Samson Ugwoke, the National Chairman of JAC, commended the labour minister for his honesty and commitment in ensuring that the strike was called off.
“We have dotted these items one by one and what we agreed on today; on these issues that we have put our heads together on, will be taken back to our various National Executive Councils for deliberation and we will report by Wednesday, Sept. 20, ” he concluded.