Due to the government’s refusal to honor its prior agreement on the payment of members’ November salaries and other arrears, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Akwa Ibom State University, AKSU branch, has vowed to go on strike again.
Prof. Nse Essien, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, had sent a memo to the registrar, Mrs. Ebi Eno-Ibanga, with the reference number AKSU/Reg/S/vol.111/694. The VC informed employees that their November 2021 salary would be paid two days before Christmas, but without the customary backlog of arrears. He further clarified that it is not a rejection of the state government’s collective bargaining agreement with the unions.
In a statement, ASSU-AKSU chairperson Inyang Udosen and secretary Joseph Mark noted that the VC’s communication was a blatant violation of the agreement they made with the state government and university management, which was witnessed by the Akwa-Ibom state House of Assembly in June 2021. They stated that “as soon as the university management executes the planned payment plan,” they will be left with no choice but to resume the suspended strike.”
The AKSU noted that, prior to the strike’s cessation in June, the state administration agreed to pay 25% of the final tranche for the remaining two months, March and April, as well as 100% of November and December 2021 salaries.
The statement reads in part “ASUU- AKSU categorically wishes to state that the content of the above-quoted memo, if implemented, will constitute a clear violation of the agreement freely and willingly entered into by the government of Akwa Ibom state, the Akwa Ibom State University Management and. JAC of all unions in the University and witnessed by the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly on the 8th of June,2021.
ASUU-AKSU, therefore, reject in its entirety the proposed payment plan for November 2021 as stated in the memo and thus categorically state that AKSU- AKSU shall be left with no option but to immediately revisit the suspended strike in the event that the University Management goes ahead with the proposed payment plan”.
On the condition of anonymity, our journalist met with disgruntled employees. They bemoaned the university administration’s indifference to staff wellbeing and stated that they would support their union if the standoff could be resolved within the next 48 hours.