By Joan Nwagwu
Abuja, – )The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) said it expects the Federal Government to pay salary arrears for the four months their industrial action lasted.
Mr Peters Adeyemi, General Secretary of NASU, said this while addressing a news conference at the union ongoing National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.
Adeyemi said that NEC expects the federal government to make arrangements for payment of the salary arrears.
According to NASU, since all parties within the University system have suspended their industrial actions, it behooves on government to start reviewing those hard stance it took while the tertiary institutions were under lock and key.
“A moratorium was given to the federal government which will elapses by November 2022.
“This should serve as a veritable opportunity for government to sit down and begin to address the existing demands by the unions, one of which is the salary arrears, ’’he said.
Adeyemi also said that under no circumstance would the government sweep the issue under the carpet, especially when the government obliged the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) similar gesture after they suspended their two months strike.
He also added that, I have confidence as a union person that those salaries will be paid, because it has been paid to the guys in the health sector which was for two months.
“The Minister of Labour and Employment also facilitated the payment and he is still there, I am confident he will facilitate this payment, ’’he said.
Earlier, Dr Hassan Makolo, National President of NASU also said that the decision to embark on strike does not come easy for unionists.
He added that trade unions do not just embark on strike to play to the gallery, contrary to the erroneous belief of the public.
According to him, this is because it is done at great cost to their members and the unions.
“Those who think it is easy to go on a strike should think of staying for four, five or more months without a salary or an income.
“Think of what that does to the household of a breadwinner who is taking part in a strike without a salary, in terms of feeding, medicals, transportation, children school fees, aged parents and other relations to cater for, as well as the landlord.
“Moreover, most of the children in public universities and other tertiary institutions are our children.
“Whereas the children of our employers and other government functionaries who are expected to resolve the grievances of unions in the public sector are either studying in universities abroad or are in private universities here at home, ’’he said.
He also noted that on the part of the union, the management of the affairs of the union continues, including the management of the strike without ‘ check-off dues.
He said that the actions and inactions of public officials foisted a needless strike on members of NASU in the Universities and Inter-University Centres.
He therefore said that the strike would not have started in the first place, if they did what was expected of them.
Hassan also said that the era of strikes would only be mitigated effectively if collective bargaining in the educational and allied institutions sectors are institutionalised.
He added that this was one of the demands they put before the Federal Government, which members of the Federal Government Renegotiating Team rejected.
He went further to state that government teams should always come to the collective bargaining table with fidelity, including implementing agreements it freely entered into with NASU.
“Over two months after the Agreement signed by the Federal Government with the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of NASU and SSANU, that resulted in the suspension of the four months old strike.
“We have observed that the processes expected to be put in place for the actualisation of the content of the Agreement are yet to be put in place.
“We therefore use the opportunity of the ongoing NEC meeting to call on the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu.
“He is to ensure that the processes for the implementation of the Agreement commence immediately before the members of NASU will start another round of agitation,’’he said.
He also added that, we hope that some other industrial relations issues within the sector which the government is aware of will be amicably resolved within a minimum time frame.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Aug. 20, SANNU and NASU suspended their industrial action.
The unions had in March embarked on a nationwide strike over what it called the nonchalant attitude of the government to their demands. (NAN)