From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

The tussle between the university-based unions and the federal government seems unending as the National Association Of Academic Technologists (NAAT), has expressed dissatisfaction at the Nimi Briggs Committee Report, saying it was not fully involved in the negotiation process.

NAAT also threatened to strongly resist any attempt by the government to cause further disparities in salaries of workers in the sector.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions (NASU), had last week, also rejected the Briggs-led committee’s report submitted to the federal government for approval.

The Committee was set up in March by the federal government to oversee the negotiations with the four university-based unions and has submitted its report to the Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, over a month ago.

Briefing the press on Thursday in Abuja, NAAT President, Ibeji Nwokoma said “While the leadership of the Union has restrained itself from rushing to conclusion on the news that has gone viral on social media concerning allocation of percentage salary increase to Unions, this clearly is informed by the fact that as a responsible Union we found the news to be fake and as stated earlier, it negates all known laws of collective bargaining. However, if the axiom that behind every smoke, there is a fire is true, we wish to clearly state the position of our Union.

“NAAT will resist any attempt under any guise to introduce disparity in salaries in the Universities, as that will have its ripple effects by solving a problem and creating multiple hydra-headed additional problems of restiveness, resistance and deep rooted further struggles. NAAT therefore calls on Nimi Briggs committee to reconvene and conclude the re-negotiation process with our Union and further adopt a more robust approach to the re-negotiation, as the committee had been slow and looked spineless in its ability to take decisions on behalf of the Government.”

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Nwokoma decried government’s decision to enforce the “no work, no pay” rule on the university workers, describing it as unlawful.

“It is also important to remind Government and the general public that the strike action embarked upon by NAAT is legitimate having complied with all laid down procedures and in line with ILO Convention 87. Therefore, the stoppage of the payment of our salaries and allowances is unlawful, draconian and contravenes the International best Labour Practices,” he said.

NAAT commenced a two-weeks warning strike in March over government’s failure to meet its demands.
At the end of the two weeks, the union embarked on an indefinite strike shutting down all laboratories, workshops, studios and farms in the university.

NAAT demands include implementation of the 2009 FGN/NAAT Agreement, release of the enabling circular for the implementation of CONTISS 14 & 15 for Academic Technologists and payment of the arrears of Earned Allowances to our members

Others are non conclusion of the 2009 FGN/NAAT Agreement Re-negotiation and non Provision of funds for upgrade of Public Universities Laboratories/ Workshop and Studios.

According to the NAAT president, most of the demands have either not been implemented or partially implemented.

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Source: news