The disagreement between the Federal government and the non-teaching staff in the universities under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee, JAC, is far from being over as the truce meeting held on Tuesday failed to resolve the contending issues between the two parties.
Recall that JAC comprising the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU had threatened to shut down the universities starting from February 5 if the government failed to address some of the concerns they raised.
Some of the thorny issues between the two include the controversial Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, which the unions complained that they were having problems with since they migrated into the platform, the non-payment of arrears of minimum wage since April last year, the disparity in the sharing of the N40 billion Earned Allowances in which the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU was allocated 75 per cent of the total sum leaving 25 per cent for three unions and the alleged usurpation of the functions of the non-teaching staff by the ASUU members.
In a bid to save the universities from the impending strike, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who is the leader of the federal government team met with the unions in his office in Abuja.
However, reports indicate that the meeting ended without any resolution of the burning issues.
Sources confided in Fedredsnews that the union representatives request for an adjournment when it became apparent that the Ngige team had no convincing strategy to move the discussion forward.
The source said, “On the issue of the arrears of minimum wage, they said there is no date for payment”; On the IPPIS, they have formed a committee among the unions to go and sit down with the IPPIS to sort out the nagging issues.
“As we discovered that there was practically nothing forthcoming from the government, we tactically asked for an adjournment so that we can go and meet our people because the issue of minimum wage arrears is one of the major issues and the IPPIS thing. If those things are not ready so what are we discussing?
“We told them we are going to meet with our people if we can get a fresh mandate to continue with the discussion.
”They requested that we should communicate back to Government within 48 hours.”
The source said the issue of Earned Allowances was never discussed at the meeting.