The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is reported to have concluded plans to take the Federal Government to court over the withheld 8 months’ salary arrears.
It is understood that members of ASUU have decided to resort to the court once the government goes ahead to pay members of the parallel union, the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA).
According to Punch, this was made known on Monday by the council to ASUU, Femi Falana.
Legal basis to challenge FG
While reacting to plans by the Federal Government to pay members of CONUA and leave out ASUU, Falana said, “We want them to pay the (CONUA) money. That is why we have not reacted.
“That (the payment) will form the legal basis for the government to now pay ASUU. We will now have the legal grounds to challenge them in a court of law. Through that, ASUU will be paid. They won’t have a choice. Let them go ahead.”
SSANU, NASU says no justification for government action
Meanwhile, the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff of Educational and Associated Institutions said the government has no justification to withhold members’ salaries and pay CONUA.
During an interview, the National President of SSANU, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the 2 groups, said, “The idea of separating some groups is not welcome. We are all working in the same place. The strike was a result of negotiations and renegotiations. No union should be held responsible for strike actions. We went on strike because the government failed to fulfill all agreements signed with them 12 years ago.
“The same law says workers are free to go on strike if they go through due process, so there is no justification for not paying our members. Our members are not happy about our four months’ salaries being withheld. It was forced on us. One of the legal ways to protest was to go on strike. We have told the government to passionately look at the situation in the country. We have had our members suffer and they found it difficult to pay school fees to meet some family demands.
“Withholding the money dealt serious blows to the members of the university community, especially SSANU. We will not support any disparity. Government should pay money to all workers of the University unions. The government has no justification to withhold our money they should do the needful. ”
For the record
ASUU had in November 2022 warned of the possible breakout of a fresh crisis in the university system if the federal government continues to withhold the salaries of its members in its ‘no work no pay’ policy.
The union called on interested parties and well-meaning Nigerians to put pressure on the federal government to pay its members’ withheld 8-month salaries across the country.
The government had withheld the salaries of the striking university lecturers after they called off their 8 months of industrial action.
During the strike, the government also registered CONUA as a trade union.