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We’re Under Pressure to Resume Strike — University Workers

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Mohammed Ibrahim 1

The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities has lamented it is under pressure to resume its suspended strike action following the failure of the Federal Government to fulfil its promises by the April 30th deadline.

The union said that the government had yet to commence payment of the consequential adjustments for the new national minimum wage and the allowances encapsulated in the earned allowance.

The SSANU President, Mohammed Ibrahim, who said this in an interview with journalists in Abuja over the weekend, noted that three issues are still outstanding out of the seven points the government promised to address before April 30.

Ibrahim explained that SSANU members are agitated over the delay in implementing the agreement, stressing that the union officials were under pressure to “return to the trench.”

He said, “We met with government some few months ago and we had an understanding after going on strike for three weeks.

“A lot of pressure was put on us; a lot of persuasions and we talked with government and saw the reason to suspend the strike because government tried to paint the picture of being sincere and we needed to give them an opportunity to do one or two things to ensure that our demands are met.

“As you are aware, our demands are not new demands. These are things that have been lingering for 11 years. We had an agreement with government in 2009 and till today, a lot of such issues are still lagging behind; especially things that involve some payments of our allowances.

“We saw reasons to suspend because we felt government was sincere and the timelines given by government – not us was that by end of April, most of these issues will be sorted. We still believe miracle can happen. Outside that, a lot of our members are agitated, we are under a lot of pressure to go back to the trenches because even when we called our members to interact with them, we impressed on them to give government a chance.”

The SSANU leader acknowledged that the issues of the visitation panel to the universities and discrepancies in salaries were being addressed but lamented that nothing had been done on the financial issue that affected the workers directly.

Ibrahim noted, “While government has attempted to address some of the problems, the ones that touched us directly- the ones that involve our pockets have not been addressed. We are hoping that government will not disappoint us and paint us like liars before our members. Where the government doesn’t meet the timeline, one cannot guarantee industrial peace because we have been taken for a ride for too long.”

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