President Muhammadu Buhari waived the ‘no work, no pay’ Trade Act for striking university lecturers to allow peace to reign, Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige, said at the weekend.
The government has released N40billion for the payment of earned academic allowances for varsity lecturers and earned allowances for non-academic staff.
Also, the government may release N30 billion revitalisation funds to varsities by the end of this month Of the N40 billion, about N10 billion was voted for the payment of earned allowances of members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SANU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and technologists.
Although the non-academic staff have threatened strike over the sharing formula by the National Universities Commission (NUC), the government said when a similar payment was made in 2019, they got N8 billion.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who gave the update in an exclusive chat with our correspondent, said the Federal Government has so far kept faith with the agreement between it and ASUU.
He said: “We are keeping faith religiously with the implementation of the agreement. In fact, President Muhammadu Buhari has given ASUU members a waiver/ pardon on the no, work, no pay clause in the nation’s Trade Disputes Act.
“I had to write officially for the presidential waiver on payment of outstanding wages of varsity lecturers to strengthen our pact and more so we are in a COVID-19 pandemic era.
“So, for harmony and understanding, we decided on compassionate ground not to invoke Section 43 of the nation’s Trade Disputes Act.”Section 43 of the Act is in respect to “Special provision with respect to payment of wages during strikes and lock-outs.” It says: “(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in any other law
The Minister also confirmed that about “N40billion has been paid as earned allowances to academic and non-academic staff in the universities.“The non-academic staff said they disagreed with the way the National Universities Commission (NUC) shared and transmitted the earned allowances by giving 75% to academic staff (lecturers) and 25% to them.“
The NUC came up with that sharing formula based on the past threshold. This administration has even improved the benchmark for the non-academic staff because the last time we had a similar challenge, it was based on 80% for academic staff and 20% for non-academic staff.
Fortunately, I am one of the parents affected by strike action in universities. All my children are studying in different universities in the country.”Regarding the N30billion revitalisation funds demanded by ASUU, Ngige said: “by the end of January, the government will pay.”
SOURCE: THE NATION