The Federal Government has set up a five-man committee to resolve the inconsistencies in payment of salaries of the non-academic staff members of universities.
This was part of the conclusions reached at the meeting between the Federal Government and the leadership of Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) on the alleged failure of Government to address the Unions’ various concerns, in Abuja.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of SSANU and NASU had gone on a 14-day warning strike from 5 October – 19 October to call the attention of Federal Government to their demands.
Presenting the conclusions at the end of the meeting, Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the Committee would examine holistically the complaints of the unions on inconsistencies in their payments by the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The Committee, with two weeks to conclude its assignment, would ensure that IPPIS worked with the Unions to identify and pay those who had not been paid; and would also identify, for the purpose of payment, those whose check off dues had been deducted but not remitted.
To facilitate the work of the Committee, the unions were requested to forward the necessary data to IPPIS, as well as submit the necessary documents on the issue of welfare, to assist IPPIS make deductions, on or before Friday, 23 October, 2020.
The membership of the five-man committee is drawn from National Salaries Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, IPPIS, National Universities Commission (NUC) and Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF).
Regarding the other issues raised by the Unions, the meeting agreed that the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) would compute the arrears of minimum wage from April 2019 – January 2020 and forward to the Federal Ministry of Education to process for payment through the Federal Ministry of Finance. A timeline of two weeks was given.
On the matter of non-payment of earned allowances, the meeting resolved that the recipients of the N30 billion, earlier agreed on with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), would include all the Unions in the University Sector namely: National Association of Academic Technologist (NAAT), NASU, and SSANU, and all the Unions would work with the Office of the OAGF, NUC and Federal Ministry of Education to achieve that by the end of December, 2020.
The meeting requested the OAGF, IPPIS, OHCSF and the Pension Commission (PENCOM) to make enquiries and update the meeting in two weeks on the matter of non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members, and also directed the universities to forward the death benefit claims for members who died before March 2020 through the Federal Ministry of Education to the OHCSF for processing.
The meeting also resolved that the Committee on the Renegotiation of the 2009 Agreements between FGN/NASU and SSANU would be reconstituted on or before 31st October 2020 and renegotiation concluded same period.
Regarding the matter of Teaching staff usurping non-teaching units in violation of conditions of service and Establishment procedures, the Unions were directed to write to the NUC, and the Commission requested to act on the letter within two weeks.
The meeting agreed that the NUC Act would be amended to strengthen its regulatory capacity; and also agreed that the Visitation Panels for Universities would be inaugurated not later than the end of November, 2020 with a four-to-six week mandate to finish its work by 31st December, 2020 “subject to the gazetting and opening of universities and submit two reports per University covering 5 year periods of 2011 – 2015 and 2016 – 2020.”
Ngige stated that the Visitation Panels had already been approved by Mr President, and that the Federal Ministry of Education would ensure its gazetting within two weeks (29 October, 2020).
The Minister noted that the issues in contention between the Federal Government and the Unions had been resolved, and appreciated the cooperation of the unions.
Also speaking, the leader of the team and National President, SSANU, Samson Ugwoke, appreciated the efforts of Government in addressing most of the contending issues, and hoped that the agreements would be implemented.
He said both Unions have developed their own peculiar payment platform which will address the needs of the University system tagged, University General Peculiar Payroll Payment System, (UGPPPS).