By Daniel Dafe
The Joint Action Committee (JAC), the umbrella body for the three non-teaching staff unions in Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, made up of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), has issued a 30-day ultimatum to Delta State Government and the University Management, to address the issue of non-payment of their minimum wage arrears, amongst other issues, saying that they will embark on a strike if their demands are not met.
A statement signed by the chairmen and secretaries of the three unions dated 25th of August, 2021, said the state government reneged on their promise during a meeting between representatives of the unions and state government representatives on the 10th of February, 2021, saying that it was agreed on the said day that the state government will implement the minimum wage as approved by Governor Okowa in February, 2021, and as well pay the accrued arrears.
Recall that the unions had embarked on an indefinite strike that commenced on the 9th of February, 2021, over the non-implementation of the National minimum wage, but suspended the industrial action after the meeting on the 10th of February, 2021 with government officials.
While noting that the minimum wage was implemented with February salaries, they said that till date they are yet to receive the accrued arrears.
According to the statement, the unions in May were to begin an indefinite strike over the issue, but jettisoned this after a letter from the university management appealed to them to exercise patience, promising that the university management will engage the state government on the issue of payment of minimum wage arrears to staff of the university.
DELSU JAC wondered why the arrears of the minimum wage enjoyed by other civil servants in the state are yet to be paid to staff of DELSU, adding that the unions during an emergency meeting on the 25th of August, 2021, looked at the matter and other unresolved welfare issues as they affect DELSU staff and thus decided to give the university management and the state government a 30-day ultimatum with effect from September 1, 2021, to resolve the issues.
Meanwhile, apart from the payment of minimum wage arrears, they said other demands are payment of arrears for 2017, 2018, 2019 promotion, implementation of 2020 promotion and payment of its accrued arrears, proper implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme and proper implementation of the Health Insurance Scheme.
Others are payment of outstanding 19 months arrears of salary differentials between HATISS and CONUSS for the staff secondary school and payment of hazard and responsibility allowances to deserving staff as approved by the Governing Council of the University.Regarding the Contributory Pension Scheme, the non-teaching staff unions said the state government has only enrolled the staff of DELSU without any effort at implementing the other provisions of the State Pension Reformed Law.
Thus, they called on the Okowa administration to remit the 10% counterpart funding of the state government to the Bureau for State Pensions along with the 7.5% employee’s contribution on monthly basis, provide the 5% monthly salary as Redemption Fund to the Central Bank on monthly basis and maintain Life Insurance Policy in favour of staff.
Furthermore, they requested that the State Government Retired Bond be issued to staff and same added to their retirement.
Also, they said the government began deduction of money from staff for the State Health Contributory Pension Scheme since March 2021 without allocation of health facilities to the staff and therefore urged the management of the university and the state government to do a biometric capturing of staff and allocate health facilities to them.
Continuing, the unions demanded that hazard allowance should be paid to staff exposed to hazards in their place of work, just as they requested that responsibility allowance be paid the Heads of Units and Divisions, Laboratory Heads and Faculty Officers.
Adding that these demands should be met within the 30-day ultimatum, just as they vowed to embark on a joint industrial action if these issues are not tackled.
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