The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has alleged that the Federal government has added some of its members to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), through their Bank Verification Number without their consent.
ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview with our correspondent, described the Federal Government’s action as an illegal act, adding that newly recruited staff were threatened with termination of appointment while the older members were told that their pension could not be guaranteed.
He said, “The strike is still on, we are not accepting the IPPIS, and our rejection still subsists. It is not suitable for the university system. We are working on an alternative which we will unveil soon. We have told the government that we are ready to discuss with them but they need time to sort themselves.”
Ogunyemi also said despite the presidential directive stating that their salaries should be paid, many of their members were still not paid.
“Before the IPPIS, the issues we were tracking have all remained the same so this strike will continue until when the government is sincere to come to the negotiation table with an open mind,” the ASUU President said.
Ogunyemi also condemned the reduction in the education budget due to the coronavirus pandemic, stating that an emergency should be declared on the sector.
“It is a disaster because no rational person can justify the reduction of the education budget. It is the most unreasonable thing any government can do. It is embarrassing at a time we are addressing a global emergency.
“Due to the pandemic, the government has taken steps to tackle health emergency so there is the need to also assess the situation of education. The government of the day in 2017, said the time was right to declare a state of emergency on education and this declaration is now more imperative in the face of COVID-19 especially in the higher education system,” he said.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, last week insisted that IPPIS has come to stay and called on ASUU leaders to stop misleading their members. He also accused the Union of owning up to 800Billion in Taxes and refusing to honor all invitations from the government for negotiation during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Minister disclosed this while giving insight into the ongoing trade dispute between the Federal Government ASUU to some journalists in his Alor country home in Anambra State after he distributed palliatives to the people in his constituency.
“As an employee, you have no right to dictate for them. It is even in the ILO convention on wages. The important thing here is for your salaries and wages to come to you as and when due. As a workman, you receive your payment as compensation for services rendered.” He insisted.
But the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), in a swift reaction said all the allegations by the Minister of Labour and Employment were baseless and the union had not refused an invitation from the government for negotiation.