FG Criticizes SSANU, NASU Strike as Public Universities Remain Shut

The ongoing seven-day warning strike by members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) has entered its third day, paralyzing activities across the nation’s public universities.
In response, the Federal Government has condemned the withdrawal of services by non-academic staff, citing violations of the Trade Dispute Act.
The strike, which commenced on Monday, is in protest against the withholding of salaries, prompting workers in various departments such as registry, bursary, works and maintenance, security, and students’ affairs to abstain from their duties.
A visit to some public universities across the country revealed a complete administrative shutdown, with locked hostels and university gates, as well as electricity supply cut off.
SSANU and NASU are protesting the disparity in salary payment, accusing the Federal Government of favoring the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) by releasing withheld salaries to them while neglecting non-academic unions.
This grievance stems from an eight-month strike in 2022, during which the ‘No Work, No Pay policy’ was invoked against the unions.
Although President Bola Tinubu approved the release of four months’ withheld salaries last October, SSANU President Mohammed Ibrahim alleges discriminatory treatment and non-compliance by some government officials.
Labour Minister Nkiruka Onyejeocha criticized the unions’ actions, emphasizing the need for conciliation rather than strikes. She urged SSANU and NASU to reconsider their stance and engage in dialogue with the government.
In contrast, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed solidarity with SSANU and NASU, urging the Federal Government to address their grievances promptly.
NLC President Joe Ajaero condemned the withholding of salaries and warned against discriminatory treatment of union members.
He emphasized the detrimental impact of strikes on students and parents, calling for a resolution to avoid further industrial disputes.
“Much worse, it defies logic to try to subject members of these unions to discriminatory treatment. By so doing government is courting avoidable industrial disputes.
“At a time confidence is being restored to the public universities the least government could do is not engineer another strike.
“The toll on all the parties will be unacceptably high, especially for students and parents who bear the burden of movement on our dangerous roads,” the NLC chief said.
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