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ASUU threaten FG to go on fresh strike

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There is palpable tension in Nigerian universities, with the Academic
Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, boycotting the ongoing
Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS,
seminar in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Lecturers are bent on downing tools again, barely a few months after
calling off a protracted industrial action, if the government insists on
getting them to join the new payment platform.
The Federal Government had directed all its Ministries,
Departments and Parastatals, MDS, to join the computerised
payment platform to reduce corruption and human error in the
payment of salaries.
As part of measures to bring universities into the programme, the
government distributed IPPIS forms to lecturers all over the
country through the National Universities Commission, NUC.
It also organised seminars in the six geo-political zones of the country
to sensitise management, union leaders and other stakeholders in
government-owned universities, on the new payment platform.
The seminar for the South-South zone was said to have kicked off
on Monday in Port Harcourt, but members of the union would not
turn up for the programme.
A similar programme which is going on simultaneously in other geo-
political zones of the country is also said to have been boycotted by
members of the union.
A source from the University of Uyo, Uniuyo, told PREMIUM
TIMES that ASUU had barred its members from attending the
Port Harcourt seminar.
Already, the source said university teaching hospitals that adopted the
IPPIS are being owed salaries due to the ineffectiveness of the new
platform.
While some workers got jumbo salaries, he noted that others got far
below their entitlements, due to the unreliability of the new payment
platform.
He also noted that February salaries of the teaching hospitals are yet
to be paid because of the problem encountered the previous month.
“The vice chancellor had intimated us about the seminar but based on
the directive from our union, we cannot honour the invitation for the
programme,” a union member in UNIUYO told PREMIUM
TIMES. He requested not to be named because he was not
authorised to speak on the matter.
“ASUU is not against the computerised salary system but we are
saying that the policy does not favour the peculiar nuances of the
academia.
“For instance, the IPPIS does not recognise the peculiarity of the
academic environment and cannot meet our payment needs. Our
members go on sabbatical, act as adjuncts and we engage in regular
recruitment of staff which are not addressed on the IPPIS
platform.”
Having experienced the failure in the payment of monetisation, the
source hinted that the union would not allow its members to be part of
the new payment system.
PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported that the
University of Ibadan chapter of the union had early in January
barred its members from filling the IPPIS form.
The Secretary of the chapter, Deji Omole, said the move would
inject a new form of fraud into salary payment in the universities.
In a statement, Mr. Omole stated, “Our attention has been drawn to
an NUC circular directing university staff to fill IPPIS forms.
This is to remind you that the union’s position on IPPIS has not
changed.
“Until NEC reviews its earlier decision, no ASUU member is to
fill the form. NEC is to discuss this issue in February and give
further directive. United we bargain, divided we beg.”
Also speaking on the matter, ASUU chairman, University of Ibadan
chapter, Olusegun Ajiboye, said the latest move by the NUC was
aimed at further creating problems for the university lecturers.
According to him, the integrated payment system did not take into
consideration the peculiarities of the work of academic staff and
negated the principle of autonomy which ASUU won since 1992.
He explained that academic staff were employed by their respective
university councils which managed the resources and took care of the
welfare of its staff; and not centrally by the NUC.
“IPPS negates the principle of university autonomy that ASUU
fought for. We are employed by our respective governing councils and
not centrally by NUC. For salaries to be paid from Abuja is strange
to the world university system apart from the dangers inherent in it.
IPPS does not take into consideration the peculiarities of our job,”
Mr. Ajoboye said.
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