University workers set for 'mother of all strikes'

Varsity workers, under the auspices of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian (SSANU) and other non-teaching staff in the university are set to begin what they term 'a mother of all strikes' any moment from now if the President Muhammadu Buhari government fails to call to order the National Universities Commission (NUC) and stops the plan to remove the university staff school from the budget of various federal universities.

The SSANU President, Comrade Samson Ugwoke, while addressing a press conference at the SSANU headquarters at the University of Abuja on Tuesday, said the union has already mobilised all its members from the states to federal level to prepare for a prolonged strike.

The NUC had come out with a circular direction the management of all universities to stop the funding of the staff schools, classifying them as private schools.

The commission also said that SSANU and other university based unions were aware of the decision taken on the issue and should know where to direct their grievances, adding that their grouse should be directed to Salaries and Wages Commission.

But the SSANU president regretted that the NUC Executive Secretary, Professor Julius Okojie, should be telling Nigerians lies over the issue of the staff school which, according to them, are demonstrative schools.

He pointed out that with the position of NUC and the offending circular, if President Buhari failed to stop the NUC, the strike is imminent as all the varsity workers have been mobilised and ready.

"SSANU has a way of handling its matter. We have started from the branches to the zones, the strategising and campaign is going all over the country; calling the attention of government to do one thing, that is to do the needful and what is right. This press conference may be the end, you will not hear from us until we take action. So, strike is imminent," he said.

He pointed out that SSANU was not the only union in the struggle, adding that both National Association of Academic Technology (NAAT) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and other Tertiary Institution (NASU) are in the struggle and that they jointly wrote to government.

SSANU said over 2,000 teachers would lose their jobs if the Federal Government scrapped the staff schools across the country.

Credit: Soji-Eze Fabemi/Nigerian Tribune