Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Monday, threatened to go on strike if the Federal Government continued to delay payment of the new minimum wage.
In a statement signed in Abuja by Comrade Salaam Abdussobur, the National Public Relations Officer of SSANU expressed dismay that after the Federal Government and organised labour concluded negotiations on the new minimum wage and the consequential adjustment, university workers were yet to be paid the new wage.
The group said it was unfortunate that while workers in other sectors had started enjoying the new wage, university workers appeared to have been forgotten.
The statement read: “The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities expresses its dismay over the delay in the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage for its members and workers in the university system.
“We note that the negotiations over the National Minimum wage was quite protracted and spanning over a period of two years. With the conclusion of the negotiations, it was assumed that the implementation would be seamless and require no further agitations to ensure it is actualized across all the sectors of employees.
“Unfortunately, however, months after the agreements were concluded and dusted, it seems the workers in the University system have been forgotten in the scheme of things. While workers in other sectors have started enjoying the increment in the salaries, the university system has not.
“Sadly, prices of goods and services immediately shot up as soon as the minimum wage was implemented in those sectors, and with the University sector still operating on the old minimum wage, thereby causing financial hardships and difficulties for our members.”
The association said as members were patiently waiting to be paid the new wage, there had been no explanation from the government on why the payment was delayed.
“As a consequence, our members are becoming increasingly restive and agitated over the obvious neglect of the University sector in the implementation of the national minimum wage act.
“It is sad and unfortunate that there has been no reason adduced for this delay.
“We hereby draw the attention of the Federal Government and all relevant stakeholders to this delay and demand the implementation of the new wage regime and payment of its arrears without further delay.
“We have been patient enough and have shown great understanding with the government on many of its policies. This understanding and patience should however not be at the expense or to the detriment of our welfare and incomes.
“With the situation of things, it is becoming clearer to us that except an industrial action is undertaken, the new National minimum wage may never be implemented in the University system.
“We hereby sound a note of warning to ensure the immediate payment of the minimum wage in order to guarantee industrial peace in the university system.”