Activities were grounded at the University of Ibadan on Monday as the non-academic staff began a five-day protest.
The workers under the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union are dissatisfied with the disbursement of N30 billion handed federal universities for payment of workers’ earned allowances.
They said the disbursement unduly favoured their colleagues in the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU).
The protesting workers also accused the Federal Government of refusing to obey court judgment on payment of salaries to workers of university staff schools.
The unions had last week announced plans for the protest, which they said would also serve as warning of an industrial strike.
The peaceful protest which drew scores of affected workers to the main gate of the institution, caused some traffic gridlock within the university main gate and other parts of the institution for several hours.
The protesting workersat the University of Ibadan held placards with various inscriptions.
Some of the inscriptions read: ‘We demand N30 billion to pay part of our earned allowance now’; ‘FG stop provoking inter-union crises in Nigerian universities’; ‘FG, please obey court judgment on staff school’.
SSANU Chairman in the university, Wale Akinremi, who was flanked by other union leaders, said “any nation that treats teachers the way we treat ours in Nigeria will never be destined for greatness.”
He said the protests would be followed by a branch protest and the ‘mother of all protests’ at the national level, which will shake the corridors if power to its foundation.”
Mr Akinremi said SSANU was demanding that the teachers of the staff schools should be retained and that the schools should not be privatised.
He added that the government should not place the burden of tax on them with the introduction of the IPPS salary scheme and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement with the union.
Other issues include the establishment of a pension commission for university workers, which Mr Akinremi said had been hijacked by a union in the university system.
Mr Akinremi said the issue of staff school was part of the agreement reached in 2009.
“The issue of staff schools was captured by the 2009 agreement of ASUU, SSANU and NASU. The Federal Government took us to court and Industrial court gave the judgment in favour of the unions.”
“Instead of implementing the agreement, the government is making “primary schools in the universities to be languishing in penury. The Federal Government is killing our members”.
Mr Akinremi therefore said, the union will not back down on their resolve to ensure that their demands are met.
“What is special about the agreement that has taken ten years to implement? Government is given us peanuts for the unions [ASUU, SSANU] as if we are begging for money.
“We are not beggars. The unions are not going to fight each other because the intention of the federal government is to cause crises within the university system.”