The war between the Academic Staff Union of Universities, popularly referred to as ASUU and the Federal Government still lingers on as the academic body comes into the open to fire shots at the Nigerian government for treating them as casual workers.
With the payment of half salaries in October, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) claims that the Federal Government is trying to convert university teachers into temporary employees.
This decision was made by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of ASUU during an urgent meeting on November 7, 2022.
The union claimed that the government’s decision to pay its members’ salary on a pro-rata basis for 18 days in October was unusual in the system of public universities. The union condemned the administration for the decision.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, the president of ASUU, revealed the resolution and insisted that ASUU members are not temporary employees and shouldn’t be treated as such.
Osodeke called the government’s behavior “an anomaly” and a violation of their ground rules.
The national executive committee of the union, he claimed (NEC) “noted with dismay that paying academics on a ‘pro-rata’ basis, like casual workers, is unprecedented in the history of university-oriented labour relations and therefore condemned this attempt to reduce Nigerian scholars to casual workers in its entirety.”
According to Osodeke’s statement, ASUU put a stop to its eight-month strike in October out of respect for the court and because it thought it would pave the way for a peaceful settlement.
The administration, though, doesn’t appear devoted to upholding its half of the bargain.
“The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) suspended its eight-month strike on 14th October 2022, in obedience to the order of the National Industrial Court and further consideration of intervention efforts of well-meaning Nigerians, including the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
“The action of the union was a display of manifest trust in the judiciary and other institutions and organs of government to always put national interest above all other considerations. This, we believe, as a union of thinkers, intellectuals, and patriots, will not only aid the process of amicable resolution of the crisis but will also set the tone for smooth industrial relations between the government and Nigerian workers at large.
“Unfortunately, the response of government towards ASUU’s demonstration of trust was the so-called ‘pro-rata’ payment for eighteen days as the October 2022 salaries of academics, thereby portraying them as daily paid workers! This is not only an aberration but a contravention of all known rules of engagement in any contract of employment for academics the world over.”
Osodeke praised the professors for their “perseverance” in the face of unimaginable hardship and unjustified provocation by the ruling class.
Additionally, he made a plea for the parents and students’ patience as ASUU works to resolve the conflict in accordance with the law.
Over the weekend, the federal government defended the pro-rata payment made to ASUU members in October by claiming that they could not be compensated for work that had not been completed and that the government was impartial in compensating university professors.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, stated on Monday that plans are being made for a N170 billion fund for ASUU to be included in the budget for 2023.
He acknowledged that the Federal government policy “no labor, no pay” is a legal policy.