Trojan News :: Real Time News

National

FUK-ASUU Tasks FG On Members’ Welfare

  • says members ailing over work-related stress
  • urges renegotiation of 2009 agreement, others

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, Federal University of Kashere, on Tuesday said its members were ailing over work-related stress urging the Federal Government to prioritise members’ welfare by renegotiating 2009 agreements.

FUK members made these disclosures shortly after undertaking protest march to the chancellery where letter was delivered to Vice Chancellor Professor Umaru Pate, which was received by Professor S. Kela.

Advertisement

Delivering the resolution of members held at a special congress meeting ASUU- FUK chairman, Comrade Shehu El-Rasheed, said meeting discussed the current state of the unions’ struggle to better the welfare of its members and enhance the working conditions of the public universities.

He said, “Compatriots of the press, you may recall that the failure of the Federal Government to honour several agreements it willingly entered with the union forced the union into the eight-month strike action in 2022. It might interest you to note that before embarking on that strike in 2022, the union had exhausted all avenues to amicably resolve the contending issues.

“These among others include engagement with stakeholders, community and religious leaders, writing several letters to the government, and issuing press releases and press conferences. Yet the Federal Government failed to fulfill its part on the several Memorandum of Action (MOA) and Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs).

“The ASUU-FUK is worried by the current deplorable economic condition of its members and other colleagues across the public universities. It is sad to note that some members are currently nursing different life-threatening ailments as a result of work-related stress and chronic pauperisation arising from the failure of the Government to pay their withheld salaries and arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).”

Speaking further El-Rasheed said the press conference is intended to update Nigerians on the developments in the FG/ASUU dispute since the suspension of the last strike action by the Union in October 2022.

“Re-negotiation of FGN/ASUU 2009 agreement. The 2009 FG/ASUU agreement came into being after a series of patriotic actions by the Union. The agreement is a comprehensive package that is centered on the condition of service, funding. and University autonomy. The agreement is anchored on the International Labour Organisation
Convention No.98 which underscores the principle of collective bargaining. It provides that such an agreement should be reviewed every three years. Pursuant to that, the union has been calling for the renegotiation of the agreement to provide for a better condition of service and more funding to public universities in Nigeria. This led to the constitution of several committees by the Federal Government over the years. These include the Wale Babalakin-led joint renegotiation committee, later taken over by Emeritus Professor Munzali Jibril’s committee. Later the FG dropped Prof Jibril and appointed late Emeretus Prof Nimi-Briggs to lead the renegotiation. The Prof Nimi-Briggs-led committee developed a draft report in 2022 and submitted it to the President Buhari-led administration. However, for some inexplicable reasons, representatives of the Buhari-led government failed to sign the draft agreement.

“The cruel effect of the truncation of the renegotiation of the FG/ASUU 2009 agreement is that members of the academic in the Nigerian public universities have been on the same salary regime since 2009 when the Naira/Dollar exchange rate was barely N120/$1. Today the Naira/ Dollar exchange rate is above N1,500.00 to a dollar. Despite the 25 per cent and 35 per cent wage awards by the government, compared to sister countries, Nigerian lecturers remain the least paid. The current net pay of a professor at a bar on average is below $400 per month. This has led to low morale among the academic staff, widespread discontent among staff and students, a declining sense of patriotism manifesting in the Japa syndrome, and lots more,” El-Rasheed added.

The ASUU-FUK called on President Bola Tinubu to immediately set in motion the process to review and sign the Nimi-Briggs committee renegotiated draft agreement to save the public Universities from total collapse, adding “Our members are tired of platitudes laced with disdain for intellectuals; only concrete steps to restore their eroded dignity and degraded lives can guarantee lasting peace in our universities.”

About The Author