Thursday, November 14, 2013

#CODED-ish News::ASUU STRIKE: Jonathan’s N1.1tr fund to end strike tearing varsities apart

6:43 AM

President Goodluck Jonathan's last intervention offer of N1.1 trillion to Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is already causing another crisis in the system. This is just as other unions in the university system apart from ASUU, including Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff of Universities (NASU), National Association of Technicians (NAAT) are squaring up for another round of action to get their slice of fresh funding in the university system.
However, Daily Newswatch investigations showed that only SSANU is alleging being shortchanged in some universities by about 50 percent of the fresh funds released by the government, especially the formula used in sharing the fund.
Indeed, the Federal Government had earlier offered N100 billion and N30 billion respectively for infrastructure development in various universities and payment of verified earned allowances, but that was not enough for ASUU to call off the strike.
The N1.1trillion offer, to be domiciled in the Central Bank, was approved by President Jonathan particularly to ensure that the lecturers finally buckle and call off the four-month-old ASUU strike, but it seems it is another source of crisis in the system.
Only yesterday, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), UNILAG chapter, staged a peaceful protest on campus over the sharing formula of the N1.6 billion earned allowances by the Federal Government.
Chairman of SSANU, Adetola Adetomiwa, said the N1.6 billion, the university's share in the earned allowances, was part of the issues contained in an agreement the association entered into with the Federal Government in 2009.
He said the earned allowances comprised of responsibility, excess workload and hazard allowances.
According to him, a total of N30 billion was disbursed by the Federal Government to all federal universities nationwide for earned allowances about two months ago, even before President Jonathan's meeting with the leadership of ASUU.
"Of this amount, a total of N1.6 billion was accruable to our university to be shared based on existing formula, which is N15,000 for the junior staff spread across 18 months arrears and N30,000 for senior staff spread across same period.
"Rather than follow this sharing formula as stipulated for all labour unions of the institution, the university authorities decided now to pay each of us N15,000 across board and this is highly unacceptable.
"I want you to know that this same earned allowance has since been paid our colleagues in other universities the way it is supposed to be. That is N15,000 for the junior staff and N30,000 for the senior staff.
"Why then should our own here in the University of Lagos be different from others or is there something going on that we do not know about?
"To this effect, we have given the university management 24 hours to follow the existing template on the sharing formula of this fund and do the right thing in order to avoid further problems with the university," he said.
The SSANU boss said the association was the precursor of the demands for the earned allowances, and therefore, there was no reason for the management of the institution to do what he described as "shortchanging members of the association."
He said the incident if unresolved might also affect academic activities in the university whenever ASUU eventually decided to call off the strike.
Adetomiwa vowed to follow up the issue until justice was achieved because, according to him, government had done what was expected and there was no reason for some individuals to scuttle the gesture.
"We want to follow this matter up to any level, because it is high time we instilled discipline and sanity into our university system, which we all agree has been suffering from a lot of challenges.
"We must all strive to join hands with government to ensure that we do the right thing, so that we get a university of our dream. One, which we shall all be proud of as a people," he said.
However, Daily Newswatch investigations showed that in a few other universities, the formula of sharing the fresh fund is not only the issue, but other unions, especially those concerning the administrative staff and junior workers who felt neglected and are warming up to start their own negotiations and, perhaps, strike.
Sources in the universities told Daily Newswatch that this had been the usually pattern and unless the government takes the issue as a whole, it may repeat itself again.

VANGUARD.

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