By Ahmed Rahma
A 14-day strike notice has been issued to the federal government by the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
The academic technologists are demanding for the release of 50 per cent of the N71 billion accrued allowances being owed members of the union based on the 2009 agreement with the government.
A few days ago, the federal government reached an agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to end its nine-month-old strike. As part of the deal, the government said it would release the sum of N40 billion to support tertiary education.
But according to the president of NAAT, Mr Ibeji Nwokoma, there is a disparity in the sharing of the N40 billion earned allowances released to four unions in the nation’s university system.
Mr Nwokoma informed newsmen on Saturday that the association has written to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige, of the planned industrial action.
“We have written to the government that NAAT as a body ought to have been given a specified percentage of the N40 billion.
“You must define it; you can’t just say ASUU 75 per cent and others 25 per cent. Let us know the specific percentage you are giving to NAAT as a union.
“In the MoU we entered with the government on November 18, in item Number 2b, we demanded that in sharing the N40 billion released, that government should clearly define what is going to be allocated to each union and government agreed to the genuineness of our demands and said NUC [National Universities Commission] and Federal Ministry of Education will work it out in conjunction with the union and what they have done negated completely the spirit of that MoU,” he said.
According to him, the union members would not resume if the government fails to respond to their demands, noting that, “We have given the government an ultimatum of 14 days.”
“We wrote to the government 30th December and we have given 14 working days and if at the end of the 14 working days, our demands are not met, we resume our suspended strike.
“Definitely, we will close down the schools. If anybody thinks that ASUU has called off their strike and that schools will reopen, then let the person dare us. Let us know how effective or how possible it is for schools to reopen when technologists are on strike,” he added.
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