The National President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, Mohammed Ibrahim, on Wednesday, warned that the planned strike by non-teaching staff in the universities may last up to three months.
Ibrahim stated this while speaking on a Punch online live interview on Wednesday.
The union will commence the nationwide strike on February 5, 2021, over the Federal Government’s handling of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, sharing formula for the N40bn earned academic allowances and non-payment of arrears of the new minimum wage.
SSANU President noted that the planned strike is important, he added that the only language the government seems to understand is, strike.
He said, “In the history of this union, we have never gone on strike beyond three months and this is probably because the government realised also that there is no way they will allow us to go on strike for that long because if our people should go on strike, the system would be shut, there would no water, no electricity, no security, no healthcare, you can imagine what will happen.”
“So, I believe having called us the first time though we have not agreed yet, we still believe and we are hopeful that the government will do the needful by attending to our demands. But if those demands are not met, I can assure you that our cups are full and this is the time for our members to drive home their point through strike if that is the only language the government listens to.”
Ibrahim recalls how the Federal Government deceived the varsity workers to be enrolled on the IPPIS platform.
According to him, IPPIS does not capture the peculiarities of the payments in the university community.
Ibrahim said, “When IPPIS came on board in February 2020, before then, all the unions in the universities vehemently rejected the implementation of IPPIS for the payment of salaries.”
“From our own angle, we said we don’t throw away the baby with the bathwater, let us listen to the government, what it is that they have to offer on this IPPIS. The government came with the mantra of they want to block leakages and fight corruption and we all know that corruption exists in the public service.”
“We realised that IPPIS is not totally bad in itself but it not for a system like a university, so we challenged the government to say that this system cannot work for the university system and so, therefore, if you want us to buy into it, go and look at our peculiarities such as the age for retirement, sabbatical leave payment, responsibility allowance, excess workload and others found in the university environment.”
“We had a demonstration of the platform at the National Universities Commission and they deceived us to believe that such peculiarities that we highlighted have been captured. And because we believe in having a hitch-free university system, we keyed into it.”
The SSANU President said the workers realised the system was not working as many workers were not paid their deserved allowances and earnings and therefore wrote the government on the development.
“We wrote the government that we had keyed but we will give you an alternative payment solution –the University Peculiar Payment System which will now accommodate all these peculiarities and that we will soon unveil and present it to the government.”