By Marcus Ikechukwu
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has reacted to the decision of the federal government to pay its members half salaries for October, alleging that some notorious ruling class agents were bent on provoking the union.
ASUU’s reaction, which is a fallout of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday, also condemned the decision of the government to pay them pro-rata, thereby portraying them as daily paid or casual workers.
In a statement signed by Emmanuel Osokode, President of ASUU and made available to the media, the Union only suspended its eight months strike because of the intervention of the National Industrial Court and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The statement read in full, “The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) suspended its eight-month strike on 14th October 2022, in obedience to the order of the National Industrial Court and in further consideration of intervention efforts of well-meaning Nigerians, including the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
“The action of the Union was a display of manifest trust in the judiciary and other institutions and organs of government to always put national interest above all other considerations.
“This we believe, as a union of thinkers, intellectuals, and patriots, will not only aid the process of amicable resolution of the crisis but will also set the tone for smooth industrial relations between Government and Nigerian workers at large.
“Unfortunately, the response of government towards ASUU’s demonstration of trust was the so-called ‘pro-rata’ payment for eighteen days as the October 2022 salaries of academics, thereby portraying them as daily paid workers!
“This is not only an aberration but a contravention of all known rules of engagement in any contract of employment for academics the world over.
“At an emergency meeting of the ASUU’s National Executive Committee (NEC), held on Monday, 7th November 2022, the Union deliberated on developments since the suspension of the strike.
“NEC noted with dismay that paying academics on a “pro-rata” basis, like casual workers, is unprecedented in the history of university-oriented labour relations and therefore condemned this attempt to reduce Nigerian scholars to casual workers.
“NEC commends the membership of ASUU for their perseverance in the face of untold hardship and unwarranted provocation by some notorious agents of the ruling class.
“NEC further appeals for the understanding of Nigerian students, parents and other genuinely concerned individuals and groups while the Union continues to pursue positive resolution of this avoidable crisis within the ambit of legality without compromising the interests and welfare of Nigerian intellectuals”.