According to reports, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has decided not to sue the Federal Government for the eight months’ worth of unpaid wages.
Once the government begins paying members of the alternative union, the Congress of Nigerian University Academics, members of ASUU have reportedly vowed to turn to the courts (CONUA). The council informed Femi Falana of ASUU of this on Monday.
Falana responded to the Federal Government’s intentions to pay CONUA members but excluding ASUU, saying, “We want them to pay the (CONUA) money. Because of this, we have not responded.
“That (the payment) will form the legal basis for the government to now pay ASUU. We will now have the legal grounds to challenge them in a court of law. Through that, ASUU will be paid. They won’t have a choice. Let them go ahead.”
The government has no excuse, according to the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff of Educational and Associated Institutions.
In an interview, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, the National President of SSANU, who spoke for the two factions, stated, “The concept of dividing some groups is not desirable. We all share the same workspace. Negotiations and renegotiations led to the strike. No union should be blamed for strikes that occur. Because the government didn’t follow through on all of the agreements we made with them 12 years ago, we went on strike.
“The same law says workers are free to go on strike if they go through due process, so there is no justification for not paying our members. Our members are not happy about our four months’ salaries being withheld. It was forced on us. One of the legal ways to protest was to go on strike. We have told the government to passionately look at the situation in the country. We have had our members suffer and they found it difficult to pay school fees to meet some family demands.
“Withholding the money dealt serious blows to the members of the university community, especially SSANU. We will not support any disparity. Government should pay money to all workers of the University unions. The government has no justification to withhold our money they should do the needful. ”
In November 2022, ASUU issued a warning that a new crisis in the university system would develop if the federal government keeps withholding its members’ paychecks under the “no work, no pay” policy.
The union urged interested parties and well-meaning Nigerians to exert pressure on the federal government to release the eight-month payments that had been withheld from its members nationwide.
After the university teachers who had been on strike for eight months called it off, the government withheld their paychecks. The government also officially recognized CONUA as a union during the strike.