The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) says it may commence a nationwide strike by Monday if its members are not paid their salaries.
Mr Promise Adewusi, the association’s General Secretary, said this at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that the strike was being considered to protest against the stoppage of the salaries of university workers without any justifiable explanation.
He said that the strike was sequel to a letter written to the Vice-Chancellors of the affected federal universities and Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
Adewusi said that letters were similarly written to the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike and the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie.
He, however stressed that SSANU members would be directed to proceed on the strike if the government refused to pay the salaries.
Adewusi advised the vice-chancellors, the SGF and the ministers of labour and education to take immediate steps to remedy the situation.
“Our members in the effected universities have drawn our attention to the non-payment of their August salaries without any justifiable explanations, even as the month of September has almost drawn to an end.
“We, hereby, place on record that our members had long discharged their obligation as workers for the said month and they, therefore, deserve their pay.
“The non-payment of our members in the universities, when some other federal universities have since paid the August salaries, is viewed by our members as an act of punishment against them for working and this has made them restive.
“We, therefore, demand that the August salaries of our members in those universities be paid to them on or before Friday, Sept. 27, 2013.
“Failure to pay by the stipulated date will be regarded as a conclusive act of aggression against the economic rights and interests of our members,’’ he said.
Adewusi said that the union would be at liberty to direct members to stop work, as they would no longer be in a position to continue to pay for their transport to work.
Also, Alhaji Mohammed Aliyu, the SSANU Chairman in Federal University of Technology, Minna, called on the Federal Government to pay the workers so as to promote industrial harmony.
Aliyu said that it was unfair for the government not to pay their salaries, considering the fact that SSANU had employed dialogue rather than embark on a strike like the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU).
He, however, warned the government not to misjudge the union’s peaceful disposition as a sign of weakness.
“Government should not punish us because of ASUU is on strike. If that is what they intend to do, it means they are inviting more trouble in the system.
“We in SSANU believe that through continuous dialogue, contentious issues can be resolved; but for government to refuse to pay our members for two months is a call for confrontation,’’ he said. (NAN)