CONUA calls for increase in salary to alleviate suffering - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Sunday, August 6, 2023

CONUA calls for increase in salary to alleviate suffering

The Congress of University Academics (CONUA), has charged President Bola Tinubu to immediately review workers salary to reflect present reality in the country.

The Union in a statement issued by its President, Dr 'Niyi Sunmonu in Osogbo by Deputy Publicity Secretary, Dr Henry Oripeloye, said workers, especially academics, salaries has remain stagnant despite the galloping cost of living following the removal of fuel subsidy, hence, want the federal government to review it to a level to bring succour to workers and enhance productivity.

It reads in part; "The Congress of University Academics (CONUA) has reviewed the state of the nation and notes the excruciating pains Nigerians have been suffering as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy since 29th May, 2023. The union further notes that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, has assured the nation that a series of measures are being put in place to alleviate the suffering of the people. 

"CONUA urges the President to expedite action on those measures to sustain the patriotic zeal of the citizens. In particular, the salaries of Nigerian workers, which have remained largely stagnant while cost of living has been galloping, needs to be revised to a level which would bring significant succour to workers, motivate deep commitment to service and remarkably stimulate productivity".

The Union added that salaries of lecturers in the nation's University has remain unchanged since fourteen years ago, calling on the President to ensure an upward review in the renumeration of academic to allow them perform the role expected of them in the society.

"Of special interest in this regard is the remuneration of academics that has remained virtually unchanged since 2009 in spite of steady rise in inflation. CONUA is hereby calling on the government to, without further delay, cause its various and relevant organs to increase the salaries of academics in Nigerian Universities while taking into account the current realities created especially by the fuel subsidy removal. Financially debilitated, psychologically challenged and dispirited lecturers cannot be expected to sustainably engage in the mentally-tasking and physically-exhausting tasks of teaching, research and community service which constitute the mandate of academics. 

"This point is particularly quite critical in the light of the unprecedented developmental challenges which are being created and will be created by the innovative measures that are being put in place by the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration", it added.

While reiterating call for payment of outstanding seven and half months salaries owing its members to the industrial action embarked upon by ASUU, CONUA stated that withholding its members salaries amount to abuse of their rights.

It adds; "As a starting point towards enabling academics to further give their best to students and contribute increasingly to seeking effective solutions to the many problems facing this country, CONUA calls upon the government to pay the seven-and-a-half months salaries owed the members of the Union. CONUA formally made its non-involvement in last year’s academic staff strike known to the Federal Government in a letter addressed to the Minister of Labour and Employment in April 2022. The letter made it clear that CONUA constituted a separate and independent Union in the University system. This fact was affirmed by the judgment delivered on 25th July, 2023 by Justice Benedict Kanyip (PhD), the President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN). 

"Since CONUA neither called for nor joined any strike, withholding the salaries of members of the Union contravenes Section 43 (1b) of the Trade Disputes Act CAP. T8, which states that "where any employer locks out his workers, the workers shall be entitled to wages and any other applicable remunerations for the period of the lock-out and the period of the lock-out shall not prejudicially affect any rights of the workers being rights dependent on the continuity of period of employment". This provision is consistent with global best practice". 

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