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SSANU halts 7-day strike, urges govt action on 4-month withheld salaries



SSANU halts 7-day strike, urges govt action on 4-month withheld salaries

Union President calls for adequate funding and autonomy to prevent education sector crisis

In a significant development, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has officially concluded its seven-day warning strike, providing the government with a window of opportunity to address the protracted issue of four months of withheld salaries.

NAN reports that Mohammed Ibrahim, President of SSANU, announced the decision during a virtual stakeholders forum organized by the Education Writers Association of Nigeria (EWAN) on Sunday in Lagos.

The forum, themed “Withheld Salaries vs Labour Crisis,” convened key stakeholders, including Ibeji Nwokoma, President of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational And Associated Institutions (NASU), to deliberate on the pressing concerns facing university workers.

Mohammed Ibrahim shed light on the outcome of a recent meeting with representatives of the Federal Government in Abuja, revealing that despite acknowledging the severity of the situation, no concrete resolutions were reached.

He emphasized the detrimental impact of the strike on university activities, highlighting critical responsibilities such as water supply, electricity, and the mobilization of graduates for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), which have been disrupted due to the industrial action.

Addressing the timeline for the strike’s conclusion, Ibrahim stated, “The strike will end by midnight. We’ll go back to our various branches to review the outcome of the warning strike, as well as the recent meeting with the federal government, and from there agree on the next line of action.”

However, he issued a stern warning, cautioning that failure to fulfill their obligations would prompt the union to take decisive measures.

Reflecting on the government’s track record of reneging on agreements, Ibrahim stressed the union’s right to resort to industrial action as a means of redress.

He underscored the lawful avenues available to the union, including picketing and work-to-rule actions, reaffirming the members’ unwavering commitment to advocating for their rights.

Attributing the root cause of the crisis to the government’s neglect of the education sector, Ibrahim lamented the disparity in treatment between university workers and their counterparts.

He decried the government’s failure to disburse withheld salaries, likening it to a grave injustice perpetrated against the union members.

Furthermore, Ibrahim emphasized the crucial role of adequate funding in preventing recurrent crises within the education sector. He argued that investing in education would yield long-term dividends by addressing societal challenges such as insecurity, poverty, and hunger.

Drawing parallels with global best practices, he urged the government to prioritize funding as a panacea for resolving sector-wide issues.

In a poignant revelation, Ibrahim highlighted the toll exacted by the prolonged struggle, noting that several union members had tragically lost their lives due to inadequate access to healthcare.

He called attention to the pressing need for autonomy within the university system, advocating for transparent and merit-based processes in the appointment of key personnel.

Concluding his remarks, Ibrahim reiterated the union’s unwavering commitment to advocating for equitable treatment and fair governance practices within the education sector.

He urged the government to heed their calls for reform, emphasizing the imperative of prioritizing education as a cornerstone of national development.

As SSANU takes decisive steps towards resolution, the ball now rests in the government’s court to address the longstanding grievances and chart a path towards sustainable solutions for the benefit of all stakeholders in the education sector.

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