The national body of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, has threatened to invade the Plateau State University, PLASU, Bokkos over the suspension of its officials.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the university recently suspended the interim chairman and secretary of the PLASU chapter of SSANU, Timnan Rimdap and Dusu Yaro.
The duo have been suspended for three months, during which they would be entitled to only half of their basic salaries.
Copies of the suspension letters, dated January 17, and signed by the institution’s Registrar, Amos Mallo, indicated that the duo were suspended over many issues, some of which bordered on the deductions of SSANU members’ check-off dues.
Further details revealed that while management insisted that the union must be formally registered with the school to guarantee such privileges, the union, quoting sections 3 (1), and 46 (2) of the Trade Union Act 2004, argued that only the Registrar of Trade Unions had such power.
“The National President of SSANU – a registered trade union – has granted approval for the establishment of a branch thereof in PLASU and the recognition of the union by an employer is obligatory,” the SSANU local officials argued, in one of the letters to management.
NAN reports that after series of communication on the matter, including queries and responses, the management suspended the officials, and barred them from entering the school unless with the “express approval of the Vice Chancellor, Registrar or Acting Chief Security Officer”.
Reacting, Solomon Alfa, the National Vice President (North) of SSANU, expressed shock at the development, and described the suspension of the officials as “unacceptable”.
He said that the university’s chapter of SSANU was inaugurated by the national body, which conferred on the officials the rights to collect the check-off dues of all registered members, as contained in the SSANU constitution and the Trade Union Act 2004.
“Before we inaugurated the chapter, we insisted and confirmed that the members voluntarily agreed to be part of us; we also told them of the check-off dues, which is 2 per cent of their basic salary, and they all agreed to paying it.
“So, we were surprised when we heard that the school was unwilling to effect the deductions, even when no one had objected,” he said.
He said that SSANU, on learning of the school’s reluctance to effect the deductions, directed the local chapter to write to the school and enclose the trade union act, SSANU constitution and membership list, to justify the request.
“It did that, but could not change management’s stance.
“We have tried to avoid a confrontation with the school, but since things have turned this way, we may be forced to invade the school to ensure that the right thing is done,” he said.
He said that SSANU, after inaugurating the PLASU chapter, wrote to formally notify the school, but did not get an acknowledgement from management, and described such attitude to unionism as “sad”.
Mr. Alfa said that he was particularly surprised that the Registrar of the school, Amos Mallo, who was supposed to be the number one SSANU member, had not shown any interest in the union, and was absent when it was inaugurated on November 23, 2016.
The SSANU official said that the inauguration was a “formal endorsement the school ought to have accepted”, pointing out that there was “no other legal document” that surpassed it.
Mr. Alfa also reacted to allegations of bad behaviour contained in the suspension letters.
“If the chairman or secretary is involved in any misbehaviour, that should be brought to our notice. So far, no such has been brought to us.
“I don’t know if there is any personal disagreement between the officials and the management which we do not know about. For now, we believe that the suspension is over union matters and shall step in to ensure justice for our officials,” he said.