The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has threatened to embark on indefinite strike over plan by Federal Government to retrench workers of University Staff Schools.
The National President of the association, Mr Samson Ugwoke revealed on Friday that the government would face serious hurdle in its plan and might compel the association to go on strike if it fails to rescind its decision.
It will be recalled that the government gave a directive to Management of Federal Universities to retrench workers in their staff schools.
Speaking in Abuja, Ugwoke said, “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. The directive to retrench the workers emanated from a circular written on behalf of the minister of Education. The implication of this directive is that this category of workers from over 30 universities will be thrown into the unemployment market,” he said.
According to Ugwoke, the University Staff Schools are an integral part of the university system, established as welfare and municipal services for scholars and staff.
“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.