• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Academic technologists threaten to shutdown universities over pay disparity with ASUU

Academic technologists threaten to shutdown universities over pay disparity with ASUU

Academic technologists in federal and state universities under the umbrella of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) have threatened to shut down the university system if the Federal Government does to resolve the alleged disparity in sharing of the N40 billion earned allowances released to the four university staff unions.

The other staff unions in question are the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), and Non-academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU).

NAAT is an umbrella body that brings together all technologist/scientists that provide leadership, scientific and technological control over all types of laboratories and workshops for researchers to put science, technology and engineering into practice.

The university workers are also demanding the release of 50 percent of the N71 billion accrued allowances being owed members of the union based on the 2009 agreement with the government.

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“We have given the government an ultimatum of 14 days. We wrote to the government on December 30, 2020, and we have given 14 working days and if at the end of the 14 working days our demands are not met, we will resume our suspended strike, said Ibeji Nwokoma, NAAT president.

“Definitely we will close down the schools. If anybody thinks that ASUU has called off their strike and that schools will reopen, then let that person dare us. Let us know how effective or possible it is for schools to reopen when technologists are on strike.

Nwokoma said the association has written to the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, informing him of their planned industrial action.

He said: “We have written to the government that NAAT as a body ought to have been given a specified percentage of the N40 billion. You must define it; you can’t just say ASUU 75 percent and others 25 percent. Let us know the specific percentage you are giving to NAAT as a union.

“In the MOU we entered with the government on November 18, in item number 2, we demanded that in sharing the N40 billion released, government should clearly define what is going to be allocated to each union and government agreed to the genuineness of our demands and said NUC (National Universities Commission) and federal ministry of education will work it out in conjunction with the union and what they have done negates completely the spirit of that MOU.”

Nwokoma said the union members would not resume if the government failed to respond to their demands, arguing that the 2009 agreement ought to have been renegotiated.

The NAAT president explained that the university laboratories and students were in terrible condition due to negligence of tertiary institutions by the government.

“We demanded that government should release N100 billion because if you go to all the universities, you will discover that the laboratories are dilapidated. We asked the government to release N100 billion to bring the laboratories to international standard and then release another N20 billion every year for the next five years for the revamp of the laboratories,” he said.