By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the University of Ilorin (Unilorin) chapter, on Monday protested what they called casualisation of intellectual workers in the country.
Prof. Rasheed Adeoye, the former ASUU Chairman of the university, described half salaries reportedly paid by government to members of the union for October as unacceptable and would be resisted by the union.
“As a law abiding union, we have heeded the directive of the court which directed that we resume to our duty posts while the substantive matter is being heard.
“However, after resumption from strike and to our utmost dismay, government decided that half salaries be paid to our members for the month of October, 2022. This development is unacceptable and would be resisted by our union.
“The fact is that academics are not casual workers. The law of the land is also clear on this; indeed, the National Industrial Court made it clear in a landmark judgment in 2020 that tenured staff cannot be paid pro-rata,” he said.
Adeoye pointed out that the Minister of Labour should be aware that academic staff engage in so many activities aside teaching duties.
“In fact, the primary duty of an academic staff is research, and there are other activities such as that that continue to engage their attention irrespective of strike action or whether school is in session or not.
“Let me assure you that our union is resolved to continue to call the attention of government to its responsibilities despite the obnoxious treatment being meted out to us by government.
“To this effect, though we have resumed work in our university, government ignoble stance of withholding our eight months’ salaries, which is based on its ill-advised policy of ‘no work, no pay’ is set to trigger fresh crisis,” he warned.
Prof Olatunji Abdulganiyu, the Secretary of the union, asserted that ASUU would respond appropriately to the unpopular policy.
He threatened that members would abandon the works that have accumulated for those period which government has falsely claimed that our members have not worked.
“Members of the public are hereby sensitised and put on notice again that fresh crisis, which would surpass all previous ones, is looming again in Nigerian Universities.
“Our members cannot and would not continue to do free work that would not be remunerated. We hope that with this notice, all relevant stakeholders, who have the ears of government, would act fast before the fragile peace restored on our campuses nationwide collapses.
“Our union and its members should not be held responsible for the consequences that its actions, in response to the crude wickedness of the Nigerian state, would have on all stakeholders,” he said.
The ASUU leader also said that the demands of the union, included “release of Revitalisation Fund to the public institutions in the country, release of White Paper of Visitation Panels to public universities which our union forced government to convene.
“Others are renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU/FGN Agreement and the termination of the obnoxious, ineffective and corrupt laden IPPIS as payment platform in the Nigeria public university system, among others”. (NAN)