By Faith Igbudu
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has described the act of paying academics on “pro-rata” basis, an infraction of the rules of engagement in any contract of employment for academics anywhere in the world.
The union, however, did not vote for a strike but while condemning the act, it called on the federal government to desist from such, saying it will reduce Nigerian scholars to casual workers.
This was contained in a press release signed by ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke after the National Executive Council meeting of the union held Tuesday in Abuja titled: “We are intellectuals, not casual workers.”
According to the release, ASUU said it suspended its eight-month strike on October 14, 2022, in obedience to the order of the National Industrial Court and in further consideration of intervention efforts of well-meaning Nigerians, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
It stated that the action of the union was a display of manifest trust in the judiciary and other institutions and organs of government to always put national interest above all other considerations.
The union said it was surprised that that the federal government has started dilly-dallying on the assurances it gave, noting that lecturers got an alert of calculated days as salary for the month of October.
The release read in part:
“Unfortunately, the response of government towards ASUU’s demonstration of trust was the so-called ‘pro-rata’ payment for eighteen days as the October 2022 salaries of academics thereby portraying them as daily paid workers! This is not only an aberration, but a contravention of all known rules of engagement in any contract of employment for academics the world over.
“NEC noted with dismay that paying academics on “pro-rata” basis, like casual workers, is unprecedented in the history of university oriented labour relations and therefore condemned this attempt to reduce Nigerian scholars to casual workers in its entirety.”
The union further appealed for the understanding of Nigerian students, parents and other genuinely concerned individuals and groups while the union continues to pursue positive resolution of this avoidable crisis within the ambit of legality without compromising the interests and welfare of Nigerian intellectuals.