FG panel doing nothing to end strike – SSANU

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The Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions has said the Federal Government Renegotiation Panel has done nothing to bring the strike by the unions to an end.

Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday, the National Vice-President, SSANU, Dr Abdussobur Salaam, said the panel met only once with SSANU since it was inaugurated on March 7, 2022.

The committee, which was chaired by the Pro-Chancellor of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Emeritus Prof. Nimi Briggs, was given three months to conclude the renegotiation with the four university unions and send the report to Federal Government.

The committee’s timeline ended on Monday.

It is believed that the committee will submit its report to the Federal Government this week or get an extension.

But Salaam explained that the Briggs committee’s engagements with SSANU had been minimal.

He said, “Within the three months timeline, SSANU had one meeting with the Briggs renegotiation team. The meeting was held on Friday, April 8, 2022. Today, being June 7, makes it exactly two months ago.

“At the meeting, nothing tangible was put on the table. No offer was made by the government, particularly on improved conditions of service and welfare of our members.

“The government’s side seems not to be sure of itself and groping in the dark as far as its mandate is concerned.”

He suggested that the panel should be properly empowered to take decisions on behalf of the government.

Salaam said, “The committee should be properly empowered to take decisions on behalf of the government. To be breathed down upon by government officials as the engagements with the committee suggest is not good for confidence building. They should show that they have a mandate to commit on behalf of the government.

When our correspondent contacted Briggs on the telephone for reactions on SSANU’s complaints and other issues, he said, “I don’t react to anything on telephone.”

SSANU’s strike started with a warning strike of two weeks which commenced on March 27, 2021, while the extension of another two weeks commenced on Sunday, April 10, 2022.

The union’s demands include the inconsistent issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, unpaid earned allowances, and delay in the renegotiation of FGN, NASU, SSANU agreements, and non-payment of minimum wage arrears.

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