Nigerians students might soon be faced with another industrial action as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is reportedly set to embark on a one-day nationwide protest over the implementation by the Federal Government of a “no-work, no-pay” policy for lecturers in the country.
According to reports, the protest will be organised at the branch levels of the union across public university campuses nationwide and it will take place as a lecture-free day for all lecturers who are members.
A member of the National Executive Council of the union confirmed this in an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, November 13, 2022.
Recall that on Friday, October 16, 2022, ASUU suspended its eight-month-old strike which had shut down public universities in the country to demand full implementation of agreements it had entered into with the Federal Government a few years ago.
While the ASUU strike lasted, the federal government had insisted on implementing the ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy when the university teachers were away from their duty posts.
However, things took a new turn last Thursday, November 3, 2022, when it was gathered that the government only paid half-month salaries to the university teachers.’
Reacting to the development the ministry of Labour stated that ASUU members were paid their October salary pro-rata, and not half salary as the media widely reported.
According to the ministry, pro-rata was done because they cannot be paid for work not done.
On November 7, 2022, Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, appealed to members of the ASUU to be patient over the half pay by the Federal Government.
He assured the lecturers, in a statement, that lasting solutions to their concerns were being sought, noting that President Muhammadu Buhari was treating their fresh protest.
Gbajabiamila rationalised that government’s no work, no pay policy was premised on preventing moral hazard and discouraging disruptive industrial actions.
However, the union after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on November 8, 2022, stated that it will not be embarking on strike but will employ other means to press home its demands.
It seems one of the other means to be employed is the reported protest that the union will be embarking upon.
“We are protesting. Branches will choose their own dates, the government needs to understand that we are not casual workers.” the source who revealed the plan said.
Confirming the development, a letter signed by the chairperson of ASUU, University of Lagos branch, Dr Dele Ashir, noted that the branch would protest on Tuesday, November 15, 2022.
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The letter which was addressed to “all stakeholders” noted that the special congress/ protest rally against the casualization of intellectualism in Nigeria will hold on “Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at Julius Berger auditorium.”
The national president of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke could not be immediately reached for comments as of the time of filing this report.