The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the payment of half salary to its members for October, is an attempt to reduce Nigerian public university lecturers to casual workers.
This is contained in a statement issued by the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke in Abuja on Tuesday after the emergency meeting of the ASUU National Executive Committee (NEC).
Osodeke said the union deliberated on developments since the suspension of the strike and NEC noted with dismay that paying academics on “pro-rata” basis, like casual workers, is unprecedented in the history of university labour relations.
”Payment for 18 days as the October 2022 salaries of academics is unacceptable thereby portraying us as daily paid workers.
“This is not only an aberration, but a contravention of all known rules of engagement in any contract of employment for academics the world over,” he said.
He said at an emergency meeting of the ASUU’s National Executive Committee (NEC), held on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, the Union deliberated on developments since the suspension of the strike.
He said the response of government towards ASUU’s demonstration of trust after the suspension of its strike on Oct. 14, was the so-called ‘pro-rata’ payment for eighteen days as the October 2022 salaries of academics.
Osodeke explained that the action of government portrayed them as daily paid workers while stressing that it was not only an aberration, but a contravention of all known rules of engagement in any contract of employment for academics the world over.
The Federal Government had denied the accusation that it paid members of the ASUU half salaries in October.
Mr Olajide Oshundun, Head of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, said this in a statement he signed on Saturday in Abuja.
Oshundun said the ministry was reacting to reports on alleged selective treatment and half salary payment to ASUU members.
He described both reports as grossly inaccurate, misleading and barefaced distortion of facts.
He noted that members of ASUU were paid their October salary pro-rata, and not half salary as the media widely reported.
According to him, pro-rata was done because they cannot be paid for work not done.
He also said that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, never directed the Accountant General of the Federation to pay the university lecturers half salary.
“Following the ruling of the Court of Appeal, which upheld the order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), asking ASUU to go back to work, the leadership of the union wrote to the Minister, informing him that they have suspended the strike.
“The Federal Ministry of Education wrote to Ngige in a similar vein and our labour inspectors in various states also confirmed that they have resumed work.
“So, the minister wrote to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, directing that their salaries should be restored.
“They were paid pro-rata according to the number of days they worked in October,’’ he said.
He added counting from the day they suspended their industrial action, pro-rata was done because “you cannot pay them for work not done. Everybody’s hands are tied”.