Half Salary: ERC Calls for Full Payment of October Salary and Settlement of Arrears Owed to Lecturers and other University Workers
Buhari Government Must Meet the Demands of ASUU and other Unions
No to Criminalization of Strike in Public Universities
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns the payment of incomplete salaries to lecturers of federal universities for the month of October 2022. This ridiculous act shows the gross irresponsibility of the government and its continuous attempt to destroy public education by reducing lecturers to casual workers. It is a clear attack on public education. Besides, this action which shows a lack of good faith on the part of the Federal Government and demonstrates its contempt for academic staff reinforces the fear being nursed in some quarters that none of the issues for which ASUU embarked on the prolonged strike would be genuinely addressed.
We demand immediate full payment of salaries and payment of the eight months backlog of salaries owed to lecturers. We also warn the government not to set the stage for another disruption of the academic calendar through its flagrant disregard for collective bargaining agreements. For this reason, we urge the FG to ensure that all subsisting disputes between it and ASUU, and other unions, are resolved for the sake of Nigerian students.
As far as we are concerned, the ‘no work, no pay’ policy of the government is condemnable as it is an attempt to make its attack on public education unchallenged and criminalize strikes which it usually forces on workers by not implementing agreements it previously signed. For a government that has poorly funded public education and left all of the demands of education workers unattended to, a ‘no work, no pay’ is just a way of evading responsibility. If allowed to succeed, the ‘no work no pay’ policy will only mean that the education sector will be thrown into deeper crisis.
Unfortunately, it is students who will suffer for whatever ruinous crisis the government throws public education into. This is why the ERC urges Nigerian students to rise up in solidarity to demand that the government stops the “no work, no pay” policy and that all collective bargaining agreements are met.
Aside that education workers are perennially forced to embark on strike action due to the grave irresponsibility of government, all public institutions either lacks basic teaching and learning facilities or those available are in terrible state. This is why a joint struggle of students and education workers is needed. The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) strongly supports the agitations of ASUU and other unions; and call for support from students and the working masses as it is necessary to ensure government is forced to accede to these demands.
We commend the initiative from the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU for congresses and protest to be organized across various chapters of the union. We urge students to join ASUU members in their respective campuses in solidarity against the callous and irresponsible action of Buhari government which can plunge universities into another crisis.
We condemn the lack of serious solidarity action in support of ASUU struggle by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC). Sadly, while the NLC, in the resolution of its recent NEC meeting held in Kebbi, has called on the government to release the withheld salaries owed to university workers and reject no-work – no pay salary, it has been silent since the government doubled down with the non-payment of full salaries for October.
We indeed hold the NLC and TUC largely culpable for how ASUU was forced to suspend the strike without securing concrete commitments from Buhari government to meet their legitimate demands which are aimed at enhancing funding of public universities and improving welfare of their members. This is because the NLC and TUC left ASUU in the lurch by failing to declare a general strike that could have effectively countered government’s hostile actions including the usage of the courts to intimidate striking lecturers while compelling the government to meet the demands of ASUU and other staff unions.
We hold that it is the silence and seemingly halfhearted approach of the NLC and TUC which has emboldened the Buhari government to be hell-bent on attacking public university education and criminalizing strikes in public universities. Therefore, we reiterate our call on the NLC and TUC to declare a 48-hour general strike and mass protest to support the struggles of ASUU and other unions, defend democratic and economic rights of education workers and save public university education from further crisis.
Deputy National Coordinator.
National Mobilization Officer