Non-academic unions of Universities vow to continue strike

Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)
Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)

Over one month after embarking on an indefinite strike, the universities’ non-teaching staff have said the strike action will be intensified.

The unions under the unbrella of the Joint Action Commitee, JAC, also threatened to withdraw concessions it earlier granted.

The unions said this in a statement signed by the chairman of the joint commitee, Samson Ugwoke, on Sunday.

The unions – Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU as well as National Association of Academic Technologists , NAAT – commenced an indefinite strike on December 4, accusing the government of violating an earlier agreement on the sharing of earned allowances and non fulfillment of other agreements.

The union said universities’ managements have the right to announce resumption of activities but the union members, ”have a right to deny the University system of their services till their rights are respected and honoured.”

According to the statement, the unions said they were not unaware of the ”antics of vice chancellors and managements of institutions to create a semblance of normalcy by announcing resumption of students and other activities.”

“While the strike action was not targeted at any individual university management, the attitudes of many vice chancellors have shown an unprecedented immaturity and irresponsibility that makes them complicit in the ongoing strike action,” the statement said.

The statement said the unions, ”had made the strike action comfortable for institutions,” by providing social amenities which will (now) be put on hold pending the time the strike lasts.

“Drivers attached to Vice Chancellors and other principal officers should be withdrawn. All units including VC’s office, Works and Services, Health Centre, Bursary, Registry, ICT, MIS, Audit and others should be closed down and none of our members are to be found within the vicinity of their offices. Apart from the strike monitoring teams set up by the branch executives, no SSANU member should be found within the university premises,” the statement said.

“You are please directed to ensure that no Management, Dean or Head of Department coerces SSANU members to render any services. And where an attempt is made to bring people either staff or external to perform official function of our members, the attempt must be resisted with all legitimate forces at your disposal. You must also blacklist all saboteurs and renegade members of the union who seek to undermine our strike action for pecuniary gains,” the statement said

“The importance and reasons for this strike cannot be overstated. We have been taken too much for granted in a system where we are critical stakeholders and contributors to its progress,” the statement also said.

While interacting with PREMIUM TIMES, Monday morning, the spokesperson of SSANU, Abdussobur Salaam, said the three unions have been providing basic amenities to the university community despite the ongoing strike.

“We feel that we are not fighting with the management and the students so we still provide electricity, water, work at the health centres since we are in charge but this act of sympathy is being taken for granted by some vice chancellors and we are withdrawing those ‘little things’ until we resolve with the government,” he said.

“If you are embarking on a total and indefinite strike, the normal thing is to switch off electricity, water and every other thing within the union’s capacity,” he said.

PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported how the unions’ meeting with the federal government in December was deadlocked.

Meanwhile, the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has begun lectures despite the ongoing strike.

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