Pay disputes hit Nigerian universities

No Comments » August 6th, 2016 posted by // Categories: Higher Education in Nigeria



 

DAILY TRUST

Pay disputes hit universities

By Lami Sadiq (Jos), Dele Ogunyemi (Ibadan), Chidimma C. Okeke & Misbahu Bashir (Abuja) | Publish Date: Aug 4 2016 5:00AM

image: http://images.dailytrust.com.ng/cms/gall_content/2016/8/2016_8$largeimg03_Aug_2016_232244068.jpg

Pay disputes hit universities

Infrequent payment of salaries is continuing in some Nigerian universities. This is even as employees receive incomplete salaries. This inconsistency in salaries and allowances has resulted in labour unrest in some institutions of higher learning in the country.
For instance, academic and administrative activities were on Monday disrupted at the University of Ibadan (UI) after non-academic staff unions continued their ‘warning strike’ to demand full payment of salaries and arrears from January 2016 to date.

 

Staff of the university have since January 2016 been collecting incomplete salaries due to deficit in fiscal allocation from the federal government.
The unions had ordered their members to stop work on Friday after holding a joint congress.
The chairman of Senior Staff of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Wale Akinremi, told journalists that the congress had resolved to proceed with industrial action without any further warning following several unfulfilled promises.
The unions are also demanding payment of N15, 000 and N30, 000 hazard allowances for junior and senior staff respectively.
Workers at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, under the aegis of Non-Academics Staff Union (NASU) and SSANU have recently intensified their protests against non-payment of allowances among other issues. The protests, coupled with irregularities in the recruitment of Vice Chancellor, forced the federal government to sack the governing council and the new VC.
At the Kogi State University (KSU) Ayingba, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had on July 25 directed its striking members to resume academic activities to enable students conclude their exams. The union has been on strike for months following the nonpayment of six months salaries.
ASUU’s Acting Chairman, Dr Daniel O. Aina, in a statement, said the decision followed an understanding reached with the University Management Committee (UMC) that academic activities should resume on conditional grounds.
“This agreement does not in any way truncate our earlier resolution and struggle but to allow students write their outstanding exams now slated for August 1st 2016.
“ASUU leadership shall abide by our earlier resolution on the total payment of the backlog of salaries as the only condition for the suspension of the ongoing struggle,” it said.
At the University of Abuja, both the academic and non-academic staff were given incomplete salaries in the month of June 2016.
A source working with the university, who craved anonymity, disclosed that he received 86 per cent of his salary, saying the management said it was as a result of reduction in personnel cost allocation from the federal government.
The source disclosed that the development didn’t come as a surprise because the management had been informing staff since January about the reduction but it only affected last month’s salary.
However, in May the university was said have borrowed money from the staff cooperative body to pay full salaries.
“We wouldn’t know if it will continue since we are not in the mind of the government and it is not only the University of Abuja, maybe as long as the 2015 budget is delayed,” the source said.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Adikwu, had earlier in a media report said that the insufficiency in salaries of staff was because of the federal government’s reduction of the institution’s monthly monetary allocation.
Adikwu said the university had received about N366 million last year, but in 2016 the money reduced to N308 million, saying it was the difference that was causing the conflict.
The Vice Chancellor said, “The FG is now giving us less money than we were given last. What they gave to us is what we used in paying and it is not that we pay in installment, it was only for one month that we paid a fraction, and we were able to pay 86 per cent.”
He said the government has promised to release the remaining balance to the university.
Another source said the VC was allegedly the main cause of financial problems facing the university because he illegally recruited about 200 non-academic staff thereby adding to the staff strength without commensurate financial backing. The employment did not follow federal character principle, the source said.
At the University of Jos, most of the issues of unpaid salaries relate to arrears owed staff at the primary school section of the institution as the university’s staff have been paid June salaries.
ASUU Chairman, Chris Piwuna, said the employees of the university section were up to date concerning salaries but the union was concerned that the primary school section was being owed three months salaries. Piwuna said the inability of government to pay the staff school salaries was a direct contravention of the agreement it reached with the Federal government in 2009.
“Outside the staff school, our salaries have been regular. Our 2009 agreement covers funding recurrent expenditure of staff schools which government is not honouring,” he said.
Daily Trust gathered that the government had in the past attempted to withdraw funding of the primary schools in universities but the union had insisted, citing examples with other military schools like the Air Force schools where the federal government still funds.
The university’s staff school is also used as laboratories for the faculty of education.
“The primary schools are used for teaching practice for students of faculty of education so the primary school is important to us and we hope that government will do the needful and not push us to take actions that will affect the smooth running of the schools,” said the ASUU Chairman.
When asked if there were lingering disputes with the university, Piwuna said as soon as the new Vice Chancellor, Professor Sebastian Maimako, settles down, the union will begin to discuss other issues with him.
When asked to speak on the plight of the primary school staff, the University of Jos Principal Assistant Registrar, Information and Publication, Abdullahi Abdullahi, said only the vice chancellor and registrar can speak on those issues.
However, our correspondent gathered at the time of filing the report that both were not in the state.

Read more at http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/education/pay-disputes-hit-universities/157795.html#1Q8mcDGVMOKhMESA.99

 

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