The Committee of Pro-Chancellors of state universities has argued that state governments would not implement any agreement between the federal government and the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The committee’s Chairman, Yusuf Ali (SAN), disclosed this to Punch on Tuesday while commenting on the 35% increase for professors and 23.5% for other university workers, including lecturers.
According to Ali, this just as the President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, in an interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, rejected the pay rise proposed by the government.
The strike embarked upon by ASUU over demands including the revitalisation funds, opposition to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System and insistence on the implementation of the University Transparency Accountability Solution developed by the union entered its 207th day on Wednesday.
At a meeting with vice-chancellors, pro-chancellors and chairmen of Governing Councils of federal universities in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said the Federal Government could only afford a 23.5% increase for university lecturers and 35% for professors.
In the interview with Punch, Ali said the decision of the Federal Government was not binding on state universities.
He noted that any move to force state governments to follow the same agreement would lead to a “bastardisation of federalism.”
He explained that state universities run under different employers.
Ali said, “We held a conference and the resolutions will soon be made available and sent to all the governors. We are not part of the negotiations, so whatever negotiations the Federal Government makes with its employees will not be binding on state universities. They are our employees and that is part of the bastardisation of federalism.
“For instance, do policies made in your media house bind on other media houses? That is the way it is meant to be. The Federal Government has its employees and the states have theirs. The government may set a minimum standard and people may decide on whatever it is they want to do for their workers.
“Our position is that we are not bound by an agreement reached between the Federal Government and ASUU. They are dealing with their employees.”
The SSANU boss also said the union rejected the offer.
He said, “The government said it recommended a new salary table with the 23.5% increment. It is different from something approved. Our people asked for a 700% increment in line with the current economic reality in the country.
“We checked the last time salary was reviewed, it was 2009. We considered the dollar exchange rate, economy, inflation, and market value since then and now and we arrived at the 700% increment.
“When they told us, we humbly rejected it and told them they could do better because 23.5% will not make any significant improvement on our members. Look at the tax deductions, and pension contributions, if you add all these and subtract them from 23.5%, what will be left is 3%. We have replied the government that they can do better, we don’t want the 23.5 %”