President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been urged to release the eight months’ salary arrears of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) withheld by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
In 2022, the ASUU embarked on an eight-month strike over the non-implementation of their demands by the federal government.
At the time, the government had threatened to invoke the ‘no work, no pay’ policy on the striking lecturers.
After the strike was called off, the then Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had said the government was not going to pay anyone for work not done.
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In an interview with journalists in Abuja yesterday, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and former federal lawmaker, Professor Haruna Yerima, said the settlement of the eight-month arrears would create a mutual and understanding between the university union and the president.
Yerima, who teaches at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, urged Tinubu to leverage on the last week judgment delivered by the president of the National Industrial Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip, that it is within the right of the federal government to withhold the salaries of workers who embark on industrial action.
He said the court, however, held that it is a violation of university autonomy for the federal government to impose the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform on members of ASUU who reserve the right to determine how their salaries should be paid.
He said, “Looking at the NIC judgement it is clear that President Tinubu can intervene, release the withheld salaries of ASUU members, to foster a harmonious relationship between his administration and the union,” he said.
“President Bola Tinubu should be magnanimous enough to pay the eight months withheld salaries of ASUU members. This will go a long way in nipping in the bud the circumstances and trajectories that snowballed into the 2022 industrial action by the union.”