FG Moves to Avert SSANU Strike Over Unpaid Salary Arrears

July 3, 2024

The Federal Government has summoned a meeting with the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) on Thursday, July 4, at the Office of the Minister of Education.

The meeting is coming on the heels of the expiration of a 2-week ultimatum issued by the leadership of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of SSANU and NASU issued to the government to pay them their four months withheld salaries or they will shut down the universities.

Former minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had invoked the ‘No work, no pay’ policy when the four university-based unions embarked on a prolonged strike in 2022.

Salaries of members of the unions, who participated in the strike, were withheld by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, President Bola Tinubu in October last year granted amnesty to the university workers and directed that four months of the withheld salaries be paid to them.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, had also said that the payment was for all the university workers who participated in the strike.

While the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been paid its four-month withheld salaries as directed by President Tinubu, the other three unions which included NASU, SSANU and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) are yet to receive their payment.

This has generated tension in the university system with the administrative workers threatening to down tools from tomorrow.

One of the union leaders said the government had fixed a meeting with SSANU and NASU by 1:00 pm on Thursday to address the contentious issues.

The union leader, who did not want to be quoted said: “The Minister of Education has called to meet with SSANU and NASU tomorrow (today) maybe to persuade us not to go on strike. We will honour the invitation. We are also going to meet with the Minister of State for Labour and Employment by 3 pm tomorrow (today).”

It was also gathered that the JAC of SSANU and NASU has scheduled to meet by 10:00 am on Thursday before going for the meeting with the Education minister.

Recall that the JAC had planned to meet on July 4, after the expiration of the two-week ultimatum to review the response of government to their demands and declare an indefinite strike if the government refused to pay the withheld salaries.