The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has threatened to shut down all universities in the country over a directive by the Federal Government for universities to retrench workers of University Staff Schools.
The National President of the association, Mr Samson Ugwoke made the plan known at a news conference in Abuja on Friday.
He said that failure by the government to honour the agreement between it and SSANU on the schools would compel the association to declare an indefinite strike
“SSANU wishes to notify the Federal Government of our intention to resume our national industrial action on rejection of the directive to Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities, by the National Salaries, income and wages Commission to retrench over 2,000 workers.
“This set of people has been employed by the universities councils for upward of decades and productively contributing their quotas to the development of the Nigerian education system, “ he said.
He said that the directive to retrench the workers emanated from a circular written on behalf of the minister of Education.
According to him, the implication of this directive is that this category of workers from over 30 universities will be thrown into the unemployment market.
Ugwoke said that University Staff Schools were an integral part of the university system, established as welfare and municipal services for scholars and staff.
He said the children of university workers should have access to subsidised elementary education and that education should be considered a matter of right and not favour.
Ugwoke said that the implementation of such directive would be a gross violation and breach of the 2009 agreement between the association and government.
According to him, the agreement is that the university shall bear full capital and recurrent cost of University Staff Primary schools.
“Having engaged the government in prolonged negotiations which culminated in the signing of the 2009 agreement, we hereby declare that we will defend the sanctity of every part of that agreement, “ he said.
The association president said that if the motive was to curb wastage in governance, then government should beam its searchlight on other areas of the sector.
Ugwoke said although it was the desire of the association that industrial peace be maintained in the universities, such situation should not be at the cost of its members.
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