The fear of another round of strikes on public university campuses in Nigeria is palpable Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) The National Executive Council (NEC) meeting is scheduled to hold in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, between Saturday (today) and Sunday.
ASUU, the country’s university teachers’ group, has been at loggerheads with the Nigerian government over unfulfilled commitments and the union’s continued refusal to pay eight months’ salaries of its retained members for the period of the last industrial action.
The NEC is the union’s highest decision-making body and sources within the body confirmed the possibility of ASUU declaring another round of indefinite strike at the meeting or later in the month.
Meanwhile, university students, shop owners and other campus service providers are worried about the development, saying the move will dash many hopes.
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A member of ASUU-NEC, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, told our reporter that the meeting was part of a quarterly meeting held by the union.
The official said: “I’m not sure it’s a possibility before the NEC, but nobody can say until the meeting.”
In recent weeks, teachers have declared a day of free speech and staged peaceful protests on their respective campuses.
During the protests, they threatened to declare a policy of “No Pay, No Work” if the government did not release the salaries withheld from March to September and the rest of the October salaries.
The back story
After the ASUU called off the strike on October 14, the teachers were paid a month’s ‘mutilated’ salary, and the remaining months’ salaries were withheld.
The government said the payment was proportionate, as the union had only been on strike for two weeks of the month. But ASUU protested, accusing the government of casually abandoning the work of academics.
Despite the protests and the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the executive arm of government has insisted that it will not change its rationale for implementing the “No Work, No Pay” policy.
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter for Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which teams local newsrooms with emerging talent to report on under-reported issues around the world.
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