The Federal Government has resolved to finally remove over 3000 universities staff school workers across the country from its CONTISS Payroll, Nigerian Tribune reports.
Already, it has directed that the budgetary allocation for the payment of their salaries be should not be included in the 2022 budget.
A circular to this effect was said to have been issued from the Budget Office, directing that teachers in Staff Schools should be removed from the Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure (CONTISS), in the 2022 budget.
In a swift reaction, the President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Comrade Mohammed Haruna Ibrahim, warned the Federal Government to withdraw the offensive circular, directing that workers in the Staff schools should not be captured in the 2022 budget.
He said the matter has since been decided by the National Industrial Court, warning that any attempt to reopening it would affect the industrial harmony being enjoyed in the universities and create a serious crisis.
The SSANU President stated that if the government should go-ahead to implement the directive, over 3,000 of its members would be affected.
According to him, the over 3,000 mentioned is very conservative because that would be on the side of SSANU membership alone while thousands of other workers under their sister unions, NASU for example would also be affected.
Comrade Ibrahim, who spoke to journalists in Abuja at the weekend on the issue accused the government of going contrary to the agreement with the union even when the court had given a judgment on the matter.
He warned that SSANU would fight the development to finish, adding, “we are also taken aback by the recent negative development that we just saw last week that the federal government through the budget office directed that universities should expunge or remove the list of our members who teach in the university demonstration schools, meaning that they shouldn’t be captured in the CONTISS salary table.
“This is a negation of our agreement with the government, because those members of ours who are in the university demonstration schools are bonafide members of University staff, and they have their employment letters signed by the registrars of various universities, as approved by councils under the terms and conditions for engagement is that they will operate and be paid based on the consolidated salary scale, that is paid to all university staff.
“Unfortunately, this development shows that the government is trying to create another friction between us and them. Because the attempt was made five or six years ago, when the government decided to remove them completely from the employment and we went to court, as you’re aware, went to industrial court.”
The SSANU President said many of his members will be affected. He said: “We have fairly not less than 3000 members that are teaching in those schools. And if you were to take 3000, you can imagine that each and every person has nothing less than 10 members of his family that are benefiting from that salary. So, this we will not agree, this will not allow, and we feel that we deserve some fair deal from the government.”
However, the Federal Government has assured that everything will be done to address the matter and ensure that it didn’t lead to another round of crisis in the university system.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige said that though the matter was not before him, he would ensure that it will be addressed amicably in order to avert any crisis that might arise from it.
“I have not gotten a report from SSANU on that particular issue but if I remember correctly it is one of the issues that I have conciliated upon following the National Industrial Court judgement about a few years ago. So, I will be surprised if that matter rears its head again.
“The issue is very clear, if the Universities employ people in their primary schools, then those people are not University staff, if they employ people in secondary schools for those who have secondary schools, again the courts have demarcated what should be done particularly in terms of the capital component of those schools and the recurrent component of those schools.
“So when we get their letter, we will address it, I don’t think it will result in any crisis or industrial action again because it is not a new matter.”