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STRIKE: FG STOPPED OUR SALARIES BUT WE’RE UNDAUNTED – ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said that despite the non-payment of salaries to its members, the union remains undaunted in its struggle for a better university system.

Speaking to our correspondent on Friday, the Chairman of the union’s branch at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Dr. Adeola Egbedokun, confirmed to The PUNCH that the Federal Government stopped paying the salaries of striking lecturers since March 2022.

Dr. Egbedokun said, “The last time they paid us was February. Since March, they stopped paying the salaries.”

Another lecturer at the institution also confirmed the non-payment of the salaries.

Speaking further, Dr. Egbedokun said, “We’re used to it. The non-payment of salaries cannot break us.”

When asked about the next move of the union over the ongoing strike and the minimum wage arrears reportedly paid to the lecturers, the Chairman said that the wage arrears were statutory by the law and had nothing to do with their current agitations, saying, “If you observe, ASUU has not said anything about it, we decided not to, it is not the crux of our agitation.”

“What we’re expecting the government to do now is to come forward with a proposal, in response to the submitted renegotiated document, which has been with the government since May 2021. This time, we’re not signing or interested in any Memorandum or Agreement again. Let them come forward with a proposal in response to the renegotiated document, and let’s see how we can consider it.”

Some of the union’s demands include the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the UTAS payment platform for the payment of salaries and allowances of university lecturers.

Meanwhile, the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and allied institutions have extended their ongoing strike by one month.

In a circular jointly signed by the national president of SSANU, Muhammed Ibrahim, and the general secretary, Peters Adeyemi, the unions noted that the decision to extend the strike was to give more time for all demands to be met.

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