The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has threatened the association will embark on a nationwide strike if the Federal government does not fail to rescind its decision to withhold the January salaries of lecturers yet to enroll in the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, in a letter dated Tuesday, January 21st and signed by the Director of IPPIS, Olufehinti Olusegun, directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning not to release funds for the payment of January salaries of academic staff of universities, polytechnics and colleges of education yet to enroll on the IPPIS platform.
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who faulted the government for taking such decision while still in talks with the union, said if such decision is not reviewed, lecturers in the university system would be left with no other choice than to down tools. According to him, the union and the Federal government are still in talks over the IPPIS policy and withholding salaries when dialogue is still being held is inappropriate.
“We didn’t take part in that decision. What we were expecting them to do was to allow the ongoing discussion to run its full course. Now that we are reading about this in the media, it’s as if some elements in government are trying to sabotage the process. We came out of the meeting with Mr. President believing that they will give us room to explain how the UTAS will better address our peculiarities and autonomy than IPPIS. However, they have not allowed that to happen. We suspect it’s due to the activities of some individuals or groups that are trying to sabotage the process.
“If they push us to the point of taking our final decision about it, we too will tell them ‘no pay, no work’ because we have a resolution that is on ground already. The resolution we took long time ago, which we reactivated at our meeting in Minna last month. So, whichever way they want to go, ASUU will rise to the challenge.” he said in a chat with The New Telegraph
On whether the union would issue an ultimatum to the government to reverse its decision, Ogunyemi said: “I have worked for one month somebody is saying you are not paying me for that month, do I need to give you an ultimatum to tell you that I can no longer work until you pay me?”