By Ngozi Nwankwo
Experts in the Education sector have replied the Academic Staff Union of Universities over their stand on “no pay no work” saying the ASUU position is not known in labour laws and is lacking in logic.
Reacting to the widely publicised statement by the President of ASUU, some experts in the education sector have said that ASUU must understand that work comes before payment and not the other way round.
Executive Director, Education Rights Initiative, Dr Joseph Udah, who accused the leadership of ASUU of playing the Ostrich when the future of students is in jeopardy, said there is no suitable name anybody can give the money ASUU is asking for.
“You can’t call it salary, one of the professors who spoke to the Nigerian Pilot Newspapers on condition of anonymity said, adding that by any definition, salary is payment for work done. “Anything short of that is fraudulent and amounts to primitive accumulation”.
On ASUU position that they can make up for the lost period, Udah said this was less than dignifying.
He explained that all public universities lost a full academic year to the strike in 2020 before the current industrial action that was commenced on February 14, 2022 and ASUU never recovered it.
“In the next one month, the public universities will again lose another academic calendar”.
“That the Nation has lost irreversible two years of it’s academic calendar is a fact we must all contend with. In last the two years, no student in any public university has participated in the National Youth Service Corps scheme due to ASUU strikes. The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Jamb, has a backlog of admissions for three years and we are still counting.
“We want Nigerians to understand that this is what government has been going through in the hands of ASUU, lying blatantly and wanting everyone to believe them,” one of the analyst maintained.
The experts called on all Nigerians to understand that the action of government on no work, no pay is strictly within the law and that the position of ASUU is not only misleading, but lacking in law and logic.
A Columnist, Farooq A. Kperogi, a Nigerian-American professor, also said he had supported ASUU and its mission to salvage the Nigerian university system from total decay, acknowledging that if it were for the doggedness and often painful sacrifices of its members, there would not be a university system to speak of today.
“But I think ASUU is now stepping outside the bounds of reason and fairness by insisting that it must always be paid for the period it’s on strike. In doing so, it is proclaiming to be above the law.
“The continuation of this strike is no longer justified. It’s now cruelty, hostage taking, and emotional blackmail rolled into one. I hope enough ASUU members realize this and prevail on each other to call this strike off in the interest of students—and ASUU’s own reputational capital.
“It would be compassionate if the government would pay ASUU members for the period they have been on strike, but the government has no legal obligation to do so. Section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act is unequivocal in insisting that striking workers are not entitled to their habitual remunerations for the period that they cease to work,” Kperogi stated.
Meanwhile, most stakeholders are beginning to question the involvement of ASUU in matters of Infrastructural development which is the responsibility of the Management of universities and not a trade union. The primary responsibility of a trade Union is the well being of its members and not infrastructural development.
On Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System, IPPIS, a professor in one of the tertiary institutions who does want her name in print said since all other staff have accepted the IPPIS, it would amount to the tyranny of a minority over the majority of workers if government accepts Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution,UTAS. Once you do that every other is at liberty to come up with its payment platform.
On Academic earned allowance, the professor said the scheme was to run for just ten years according to the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, during which all universities would have engaged the best of their brains in every department over the period, thereby, solving the problem of excess workload.
“It is not logical to be talking about earned allowance over twenty years after the agreement”.
The professor said; in “summary, ASUU is a busy body on issues of infrastructural development. On IPPIS, ASUU is playing the tyranny of a minority on public servants who are all on IPPIS,” she said.