ASUU rejects FG’s new salary structure – The Sun Nigeria

By Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

More trouble looms as the University Academic Staff Union (ASUU) has said it will not accept the Recommended Consolidated University Salary Structure (CONUASS) presented by the federal government to the union.

The ASUU said the proposed pay structure which was drafted by the National Wages, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) did not follow the principle of collective bargaining.

He asked the federal government, through the Ministry of Education, to return to the new draft agreement of the FGN/ASUU renegotiation committee of 2009 whose work lasted five and a half years in total as a sign of good faith.

This was contained in a statement released Thursday by union president Emmanuel Osodeke.

“During the resumed meeting of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and the Renegotiation Committee of the 2009 Agreement of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, the government team presented a “Award” of a Recommended Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure (CONUASS) prepared by the National Commission on Salaries, Incomes and Wages (NSIWC) to ASUU. ASUU strongly rejected and still rejects the “Award”.

“The FGN-ASUU agreement of 1981, under the administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, established the principle of collective bargaining, based on Decree No. 1 of 1973 of the wages commissions and the industrial council, the Disputes Act (1976), ILO Conventions 49 (1948), 91 (1950), 154 (1988) and Recommendation 153 (1981), the report of the Udoji Commission of 1974 and the report of the Cookey Commission of 1981. It also provided a platform to address such important issues as special salaries and conditions of service for university staff, university funding, roles of pro-chancellors, vice-chancellors and the Commission National University (NUC). One of the main results was a special salary scale for academic staff known as the Academic Salary Structure (USS).

“At the start of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement on March 16, 2017, the Federal Government and the ASUU teams agreed to be guided by the following principles as their mandate: reversing the decadence of the university system Nigerian government, in order to reposition it in its national development responsibilities; Reversing the brain drain, not only by improving the remuneration of academic staff, but also by relieving them of the burdens of a unified civil service salary structure and the restoration of Nigerian universities, through immediate, massive and sustained financial intervention; as well as the guarantee of true university autonomy and academic freedom,” he said.

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According to Osodeke, the government’s surreptitious decision to set aside the principle of collective bargaining is, without a doubt, detrimental to Nigeria’s aspiration to become an active player in the global knowledge industry, as it deals with the potential for damage the psyche of lecturers and destroy commitment to the academic system.

“Rejecting a wage package obtained through collective bargaining is a repudiation of government claims about reversing the ‘brain drain’. It is common knowledge that more now than in the 1980s and 1990s, Nigerian scholars, especially in rare fields like science and medicine, are migrating en masse to Europe, America and many parts of Nigeria. Africa such as South Africa, Rwanda and Ghana with a favorable environment to practice their trades as well as competitive reward systems for intellectual efforts. Does the Nigerian government care what will happen to public universities in five or ten years if this trend continues? he asked.

The ASUU President further claimed that the government imposed the ongoing strike on the union and encouraged it to linger due to its defiant indifference.

“The renegotiation committee led by Munzali Jibril submitted the first draft agreement in May 2021, but the official response from the government did not come until about a year later! Still,

“The ‘Prize’ presented by the team led by Nimi Briggs came in the form of a take it or leave it piece of paper. No serious country in the world treats its scholars this way.

“Over the years, particularly since 1992, the Union has always advocated and negotiated a separate salary structure for academics for obvious reasons. The ASUU does not accept any given salary as was the case in General Abdulsalam Abubakar’s administration. The separate wage structures in all FGN/ASUU agreements were generally the result of collective bargaining processes.

“The main reason given by the federal government for the miserly offer, low income, is not tenable. This is due to several reasons, the main one being the poor management of the economy. This has resulted in revenue leakage from governments at all levels. There is wasteful spending, embezzlement and the outright theft of our collective heritage.

“ASUU believes that if the leaks in the country’s resource management are stopped, there will be more than enough to meet the country’s revenue and expenditure targets without borrowing and plunging the country into a debt crisis like this is currently the case.

“The new draft agreement contains other major recommendations for the financing of the main components of the FGN/ASUU agreement renegotiated in 2009. One of these recommendations is the tax on cell phones and communication lines. Ironically, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning recently announced that it was ready to implement the ASUU recommendation, as a source of revenue, but not for education, without acknowledging The union ! “, noted the president of the union.

William M. Mayer