UNIBEN, ATBU pick holes in FG’s sharing formula of earned allowance

By Opeyemi Babalola

Members of staff of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), under the aegis of Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), have rejected the proposed sharing formula of N21 billion earned allowances for teaching and non-teaching staff of Universities.

The workers, at an emergency Congress of the Unions in the institution, vowed to embark on a three-day protest if the federal government fails to change its decision before the funds allocated for the earned allowances of the workers are disbursed.
Addressing the meeting, Chairman of UNIBEN SSANU/Joint Association Committee (JAC), Comrade Osewa Bedrock, described as provocative and unacceptable, the 75 percent share for teaching staff and 25 percent for non-teaching staff as proposed by the National Universities Commission (NUC), adding that the plan does not reflect equity and justice.


Bedrock urged the federal government to suspend the disbursement of the third tranche of the funds which started in June 2009 forthwith, pending the resolution of the issues at stake by readjusting the sharing formula.
He said: “From the reports that we have heard, the sharing formula that has decided, 75 percent to teaching Staff while 25 percent is for non-teaching Staff, which we have rejected totally.


“This is provocative, inequitable and offensive. All of us cannot be in the same place here…we compliment another. We are not talking about equality, but equity. So, we have totally rejected the offer. They should quickly readjust the sharing formula.
“Our people are hungry. We are not happy. If you want to get the best from a worker, he has to be fulfilled. Anytime the government makes promises, they fail,” he added.


Osewa while handing over a paper to UNIBEN Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lilian Salami, for onward transmission to the Executive Secretary of NUC, sued for the sustenance of the cordial relationship that exists between the Unions and the management of UNIBEN.
To further avert another industrial action in the University, Esewa demanded the full payment of hazard allowance and earned arrears of the new minimum wage consequential adjustment which was approved in August 2021.


In a similar development, the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi Chapter have described the sharing formula developed by the Federal Government for the payment of their earned allowances as “evil, demonic and provocative.”
The two unions had on Wednesday commenced a three-day peaceful protest which ended Friday to register their feelings over what they called unfair treatment by the federal government.


The JAC Chairman, Sulisma Jatau, lamented over the failure of the federal government to act in accordance with the agreement signed in 2009 and some of their allowances yet to be paid to date.
He said, “This year in February, we went on strike to demand the payment of these allowances, we were informed that the money was not included in the 2020/2021 budget, and we agreed and shelved the strike, with a promise that they will give us the money in the supplementary budget which was signed in August.


“Just last week, we heard that the money was released for that purpose but it was hijacked by ASUU. The money we demanded was N30 billion, but the Federal Government release N22.712 billion.
“But to our dismay, we saw a circular that the money is to be shared with 25 per cent to the non-teaching staff and the remaining 75 per cent to the academic staff. We feel this sharing formula is evil, demonic and provocative.


“What we are saying is that government has no business in sharing money to unions. We have a statutory officer who is in charge of interpreting financial regulations in the universities. The government should give the money to the universities and the bursar will now share the money according to the agreement. But for government to share money with us, we will never take that.” 

Protesters at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi

 

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