Strike: SSANU, NASU reject Briggs Committee Report, say ‘it’s biased’ against non-academic staff

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions (NASU), has expressed dissatisfaction with the Briggs Committee’s report submitted to the federal government for approval.

The Federal Government had set up the Nimi-Briggs committee to renegotiate the 2009 Agreement between the government and the university-based unions, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions, NASU and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT.

The Committee submitted its report to the Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, over a month ago.

But, in a press briefing led by Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, National President, SSANU and Comrade Peters Adeyemi, General Secretary, NASU and Spokesperson, SSANU/NASU JAC earlier today in Abuja, the unions said the committee’s negotiations processes were biased as their members were not dully involved and did not endorse the 10 percent salary increase purportedly recommended in the report.

“The Minister of Labour and Employment in his various statements, had exposed the fact that a report had been prepared and presented to the Federal Government by the Briggs Committee. The Committee which had clear Terms of Reference to renegotiate with the university-based unions, chose to solely review the salary and submit its report on the strength of its conclusion, surreptitiously allocating a salary increment to the two unions even without having a single discussion on the issue with them.

“This is tantamount to shaving a man’s head behind his back. This is an utmost breach of faith and infringement of collective bargaining processes,” the unions said, lamenting that the committee “negotiated fully with one union and did not do full negotiations with the other unions.”

“We don’t need to go to the market to begin to make announcement to say that it is biased and that so called interim report is not a report that is binding on all because we have not done our negotiations. The two unions have presented salary tables for renegotiations. They should have negotiated that salary table with us. Nothing has been done in that regard,” the unions reiterated.

“It is therefore shocking, to say the least, that while we have not even commenced discussions on salary review and other allowances, we received reports that the Committee had gone ahead to submit a report to the Federal Government recommending a ten percent (10%) increase for Non-Teaching Unions.”

The non-teaching staff again warned that any attempt of salary discrepancies in the university system would be met with a stiff resistance.

“Let it be stated clearly, that SSANU and NASU reject any salary recommendation that would cause further disparity in the university system. There is an already existing disparity in the system which we had always closed our eyes to. To further expand that disparity would be invitation to the greatest level of anarchy and industrial unrest ever witnessed in the university system,” the warned.

The unions further lamented that none of the the eight issues that led to the strike had been fully addressed by the government, describing, however, as a welcome development a recent directive by the President that the Minister of Education should take over negotiations with the aggrieved unions, and hoped that the Federal Ministry of Education would correct the anomalies.

“As at today, out of the eight issues that led to the strike, none of them has been conclusively addressed by Government. Arrears of Consequential Adjustments on Minimum Wage have only been partially paid. As in many universities, we still have many members who have not been paid while the Federal Universities of Agriculture have been totally left out,” the unions agonised.

“No Arrears of Earned Allowances have been paid. White Papers on Visitation Panels have not been released. Staff School teachers continue to languish despite a court judgment in their favour. Our jobs continue to be usurped by Vice-Chancellors as job for the boys and allocated to Academic Staff. State universities have been badly hit by poor funding, poor governance and non-payment of salaries to workers spanning into months.”

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