Says affiliation members could go on strike
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Abdussobur Salaam is the Nationwide Public Relations Officer of the Senior Employees Affiliation of Nigerian Universities (SSANU). On this interview, Salaam says some forces could also be working towards the recall of sacked members Universities’ Employees Faculties. He additionally says that SSANU could go on strike over the failure of the Federal Authorities to deal with the problem of Earned Allowances.
Has the problem of disengaged employees of Employees Faculties now been resolved?
The final JAC (Joint Motion Council) nationwide strike was primarily based on three points – 1.Recall of our sacked members within the Universities’ Employees Faculties. 2. Cost of our short-paid Earned Allowances. three. Resumption of our renegotiation of the 2009 Settlement. Whereas the strike was ongoing, we obtained communication from the Federal Ministry of Training directing Vice- Chancellors to recall the employees, place them on the nominal and payrolls whereas they need to liaise with the Workplace of the Accountant Common in order to get the arrears of the salaries owed them. Primarily based on the above, the primary situation has been fairly resolved although we monitor the method to make sure full compliance as a result of we’re conscious of some forces which will wish to truncate the method. Nonetheless, for now, we’re fairly happy with the response from authorities, although belated and having brought on us and our members a lot ache, and we are able to moderately say that the matter is nearly concluded.
What’s the state of affairs between SSANU and FG by way of the renegotiation of the 2009 Settlement?
We now have resumed renegotiation with the Babalakin Committee and, although the tempo of discussions should not as quick as we want, we’re hopeful that the train will likely be concluded shortly. We recognise that it’s a negotiation and, as such, we won’t permit imposition by the federal government workforce. We’re hopeful that the complete train will result in optimistic dividends for the college system and our members.
Authorities promised to deal with the disparity within the sharing of the Earned Allowances from September. Has the promise been fulfilled?
On the problem of Earned Allowances, our calls for are clear. Until date, nevertheless, there was no sign that authorities is able to pay the allowances earlier than the yr runs out. We now have put additional industrial motion on maintain due to the truth that the 2 different points are being resolved however we could also be compelled to go strike on the particular situation of Earned Allowances if isn’t speedily resolved. It is because the problem of Earned Allowances is a sore level amongst our members and which they don’t take evenly. It isn’t a frivolity however legit allowances which ought to have been embedded within the salaries of recipients since 2009 and compelled to build up and owed in arrears up until in the present day. Certainly, in making our calls for, we should always have requested for accrued curiosity on the allowances as a result of there’s time worth of cash which has been misplaced on account of the time between now and ten years in the past when the cash should have been paid. The JAC of NASU and SSANU shall, nevertheless, be assembly quickly to appraise the state of affairs and decide the subsequent plan of action.
What’s the place of SSANU with respect to the directive from the Federal Authorities that universities should key into IPPIS? We’re not unaware that ASUU is against it.
On the problem of becoming a member of the Built-in Payroll Personnel Data System (IPPIS), SSANU has determined to key into it due to the broader problems with accountability, probity and anti-corruption. The place of SSANU is that the present system has given too many monetary loopholes in our ivory towers which should be checked and IPPIS appears to be an excellent measure to test monetary infractions and excesses within the college system. We now have, nevertheless, made sure positions which embrace that although we aren’t averse to IPPIS, the peculiarities of the college system have to be captured within the course of. Points like sabbatical go away, appointment, retirement age, cost of specialised or Earned Allowances, cooperative deductions, union check-off dues have to be captured to our satisfaction. The engagement between the union and the Workplace of the IPPIS within the Workplace of the Accountant Common of the Federation is ongoing and if these points are effectively addressed, IPPIS would in the end profit the system. We now have, nevertheless, directed our members to key into IPPIS for the larger good of the system.
Will becoming a member of IPPIS not violate the college autonomy legislation?
The place of a bit of the college neighborhood is that becoming a member of IPPIS would violate the autonomy legal guidelines of universities. Whereas on face worth, it might be so, the fact is that these similar proponents of college autonomy are at all times selective, propagating college autonomy when it favours them however breaching it when it doesn’t. On the entire, nevertheless, the place of our union is that for the reason that funds for wage cost are authorities funds, you can not decide for the federal government the way it ought to apply, acceptable or preserve the funds. Our main considerations needs to be that we’re correctly paid, not short-paid and funds are made according to acceptable modes of cost with out demeaning or lowering our shallowness. Proponents of the current autonomy legal guidelines could wish to shield it as a result of it favours them. So far as SSANU, and I do know too of NASU, is anxious, the current autonomy legal guidelines are closely skewed towards the non-teaching employees. It isn’t wholesome for the system because it makes a bunch within the college perpetually subjugated underneath one other group. With the current legal guidelines, what we have now is an animal farm state of affairs the place one group of workers, the tutorial employees, lord it over one other group, a case of all animals are equal however some animals are extra equal than others. Given the current structure and membership of Council, that is inevitable. It has even grow to be so dangerous that authorities has misplaced grip of the possession of the colleges on account of the truth that selections at Council are decided by majority and the place authorities nominees are solely 5 and inner members of Council, tutorial employees members are ten and within the majority, they are going to undoubtedly have their manner. Normally, Councils have been pocketed by Vice Chancellors and this too isn’t good for the system. First, authorities appointees on Governing Councils are to fulfill political pursuits as job for the boys. Primarily based on this, the appointees, generally, are available with a mindset of what can we fleece out of the system? Other than a couple of excellent individuals, Council Chairmen normally look out for the icing within the appointment since it’s seen as their very own share of the political cake. All an unscrupulous Vice Chancellor must do is to pocket such a Chairman of Council by making certain that entry to funds and college assets can be by means of him. As such, selections of Council are primarily based on what the VC wishes and nothing else. Issues are additional compounded when the Council membership has Deputy Vice Chancellors who’re appointees of the VC thereby making them his appendages and can’t converse opposite to what the VC needs and can eternally concur. The college Senate illustration on Council is nearly normally on the behest of the VC as a result of the VC is the Chairman of Senate, subsequently you hardly once more discover Senate representatives on Council going opposite to the VC. Consequently, the VC has his manner with the DVC and Senate representatives on Council. No determination may be taken independently by Council besides the needs of the VC. The place unbiased selections are to be taken, you may nearly make sure that the VC and the Chairman of Council will cross paths and this isn’t good for the system. SSANU place is that the college autonomy legal guidelines have to be reviewed and made extra consultant and democratic. These are among the many points we’re placing on the desk for our renegotiation. Within the college protocol, the Governing Council is greater than the Senate. Nevertheless, how would the Registrar and Bursar, who’re appointees of Council, be excluded from Council, whereas Deputy Vice Chancellors, who’re appointees of what we could think about, with no disrespect meant, to be a subsidiary physique are automated members? What justice is that? Our place, subsequently, is that for college autonomy to make sense, Registrars and Bursars have to be automated members. Equally, College Congregation illustration on Council have to be elevated to 3, with two slots ceded to the non-teaching employees since tutorial employees members have already got 4 slots from Senate which can’t be contested by non-teaching employees. The rivalry of SSANU is that the college system will proceed to face disaster if the current governance mannequin isn’t reviewed, the autonomy legal guidelines modified and the present inner colonialism of 1 group subjugating one other group isn’t checked.
What are the causes of incessant industrial unrest within the college system?
There are numerous causes liable for industrial unrest within the college system. A few of them are inner whereas others are exterior. The exterior causes could embrace the penchant of presidency to fail to respect and honour agreements. Take a look at how badly our 2009 Settlement has been applied. Some salient elements of the settlement haven’t been applied and the place you observe some stage of implementation, it has been in breach. Throughout the system, conflicts and unrest may come up from the angles of inexperience of each union leaders and administration. They might additionally come up from overzealousness of union leaders and the shortage of transparency, openness and high-handedness of Vice Chancellors. These are areas that we have to take a look at, particularly the world of inexperience. The statement of SSANU in current occasions is that almost all Vice Chancellors are literally not skilled sufficient for the job. They don’t have the requisite managerial and administrative expertise to tackle the management of a extremely risky atmosphere such because the college. It’s a large problem. You possibly can think about a professor of agronomy or veterinary medication who’s appointed Vice Chancellor with none requisite human managerial coaching, the tendency is for him to wish to deal with his employees members the identical manner he would deal with his animals. I used to be fairly amused when very a Vice Chancellor granted a newspaper interview the place he publicly expressed his inexperience by narrating that when he assumed workplace as VC, he discovered that the college’s admission and carrying capability was low and determined to extend it. In accordance with him, he bought the NUC to extend the admission carrying capability just for him to now understand that the rise in capability demanded further constructions and services to cater for the rise. He didn’t anticipate the necessity to enhance services when making demand for enhance in college students. In the meantime, that is an elementary or fundamental administration or economics precept! Whenever you enhance inhabitants, calls for on present infrastructure will increase. You simply must anticipate that. He publicly expressed his ignorance and there are fairly numerous them. Sadly, such Vice Chancellors don’t search recommendation from skilled directors, Registrars and Bursars, who may give them high quality concepts on how you can enhance the system. The purpose being made is that past tutorial prowess, whoever is to be appointed Vice Chancellor should have proven confirmed data of administrative expertise. Even at that, SSANU place is that earlier than assuming workplace, as a part of their orientation, they have to be taken on a correct course and coaching on management and union administration. The Michael Imoudu Institute for Labour Research is there. Coaching of Vice Chancellors on labour relations is essential! Some Vice Chancellors don’t even know how you can handle their Registrars or Bursars whose information ought to have been maximized within the curiosity of the system. I can confidently say that any VC who totally makes use of his Registrar and Bursar in his administration will succeed but when they don’t, issues set in. The place of SSANU is that the powers granted to Vice Chancellors are too monumental and should be pruned. Most of them discover such monumental powers abruptly thrust on them and, in lots of instances, don’t know how you can use it. They discard the Registrar who’s there to information them and take up advise from cronies who’re both sycophants or inexperienced just like the VC himself. Management of a college or certainly any group is for ready minds. This accounts for why Vice Chancellors, at whim, droop or sack employees members, particularly union leaders, over trivial points that would have been resolved by means of dialogue. There isn’t a doubt that union leaders could also be overzealous or exuberant but it surely behoves on a great administrator to know how you can handle the assorted tendencies. Most Vice Chancellors don’t know how you can deal with it and consequently don’t translate the unions into allies however see them as enemies. We now have seen instances the place Vice Chancellors would use their inexperience and lack of administrative information to jeopardize the system over petty and mundane issues. That is what inexperience does! Like I mentioned, our legal guidelines bestow so many powers on Vice Chancellors and a small misuse of the powers may trigger upheavals. Vice Chancellors are so sturdy that they decide nearly the whole lot within the college. Solely not too long ago, a Vice Chancellor of a state college directed employees members to signal oaths of secrecy. Union leaders are being sacked for leaking what Vice Chancellors think about to be confidential data and I discover it very unhappy.
In an age the place universities in superior international locations are opening up their books and data for public scrutiny, posting Council and Administration selections on their web sites, Nigerian universities are directing their employees members to signal oaths of secrecy! How will we advance? I believe the Committee of Vice Chancellors ought to rethink itself and be much less of a chat store or a protectionist group for Vice Chancellors and delve extra into coaching of Vice Chancellors on how you can relate higher with unions, be extra open and clear of their dealings. On our half, I imply SSANU, we have now at all times made it obligatory for the coaching of our leaders in any respect ranges in battle administration, collective bargaining and different information that might empower them to defend and shield their members whereas not jeopardizing the system. Our advocacy is for the system and SSANU will proceed to do no matter it will possibly, to guard the college system.