We are back to work, but unable to work- ASUU, University of Jos branch asks members to stay at home

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Based on the revised academic calendar for the 2020/2021 session approved by the senate of the University, lectures should have started already but the challenge of lack of payment of salaries has constrained our members from going to the classroom to teach.”

Another major crisis is brewing in the nation’s ivory towers just few days after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) called off its about 9-month old strike.

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Indication to this emerged on Friday when the Congress of University of Jos branch of ASUU resolved that members should stay at home until they are paid the backlog of their salaries.

The union is accusing Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige of trying to enforce the policy of no-work-no- pay and ASUU is not taking kindly to this.

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Professor Lazarus Maigoro, Chairman, ASUU, University of Jos said this much on Friday in a statement he issued after the meeting of the Congress.

He said “In view of the bottleneck placed by Ngige towards paying our members the backlog of our salaries, the congress of ASUU University of Jos met today November 4, 2022 and resolved to stay at home, though not on strike until the backlog of the withheld salaries are paid.

“For the avoidance of doubt, our members are back to work, willing and ready to work but are unable to work. Based on the revised academic calendar for the 2020/2021 session approved by the senate of the University, lectures should have started already but the challenge of lack of payment of salaries has constrained our members from going to the classroom to teach.

“What this implies is that the students who have resumed already will have to wait indefinitely while we wait for our withheld salaries to be paid to us”.

“One of the issues agreed at the meeting was that 50% of the backlog of eight months arrears of our withheld salaries will be paid to our members immediately but as at the time of writing this press release, only 17 days prorated October salary was paid to our members by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

“Having stayed for about nine months running now, our members in the University of Jos considered this an insult to them by the Accountant Gereral of the Federation.

“Is the Accountant Gencral of the Federation actually answerable to the Minister of Labour? So, if today the Minister of Agriculture directs the Accountant General of the Federation to withhold the salaries of the staff of the Agricultural Research
Institutes who have been on strike for over a year, will he obey that?

“We wonder why Ngige is keen
about withholding the salaries of ASUU members because staff of some Agricultural Research Institutes have been on strike for almost a year but they have been receiving their salaries regularly. Is this policy only
for ASUU members?

“We are also aware that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, wrote a memo to the Accountant General asking him to pay our members only from the day we suspended the strike.

“By this singular act, the Minister of Labour and Employment has casualised the work of the University Lecturers unfortunately.

“This further creates doubts on our minds as to whether the understanding reached with the leadership of the House of Representatives on some of the issues will be implemented at all
by those who are saddled with the responsibility of doing so in order to avoid further needless strikes.

“From all indications, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has personalised the matter between him and our union and is on a mission for vendetta.

“It has become crystal clear now that he wasn’t happy that the House of Representatives brokered a truce on some of the issues we went on strike for and has gone behind to undermine it.

“It is also very clear to us now why he shamelessly walked out on the leadership of the House of Representatives at one of the meetings with all stakeholders to the glare of all Nigerians because he never wanted any form of resolution to be reached on the issues being discussed and is the nation.”

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