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Demands of striking university staff fully met —FG

The Federal Government has fulfilled its part of the agreement reached with the non-academic staff of federal universities on September 20.

The was made known by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, in a statement issued by Mr. Samuel Olowookere, the deputy director of press in the ministry on Tuesday.

He said the government had also fully complied with the implementation timelines of the agreement.

The universities’ workers are currently on strike, alleging that the government had not fulfilled its agreement with them.

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) are operating under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee (JAC).

They complained about the sharing formula of the N23 billion released by the government for the settlement of earned allowances.

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In the sharing formula, non-academic staff were allocated 11 per cent of the N23 billion as against 89 per cent for academic staff in the universities.

But in the statement, Ngige called on the workers to call off the strike and make a fresh case over their grouse with the disbursement.

As far as he was concerned, government could not be held responsible for the “skewed disbursement formula” for the money.

The statement reads in part: “As I speak, the Federal Government has fully implemented the major contemporary issues such as payment of shortfalls, registration with PENCOM, among others, in the agreement.

“The only grievance the unions have today is that the modality for the disbursement of the N23 billion released by the Federal Government for the settlement of earned allowances is skewed against them.

“But I advised them during the negotiation to call off their strike when it entered the fifth day and quickly forward their own template for accessing the N23 billion meant for the academic and non-academic staff of the universities, since the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had already submitted theirs.

“They bluntly refused and dragged the strike for weeks.”

Ngige called on the striking workers to make fresh case for inclusion in the 2018 budget.

He added that the government was willing to address the issue.

He stressed that “If the unions under JAC are embarking on a fresh strike, they are yet to comply with the relevant sections of the labour laws.”