Chairman of the University Of Calabar Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU), Tony Eyang, has said the union will not back down until its demands are met.
ASUU commenced a two-week warning strike on Wednesday, November 16, in protest of the Federal Government’s refusal to implement the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding with the Union among other issues.
Speaking to Vanguard on Thursday, Eyang expressed regrets that the Union had to resort to the industrial action.
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“We are avowed to our responsibility to the future of this country; it is regrettable that over and over again we get to this point but what we have resolved to do is that government does the needful and we will not surrender even if it means our embarking on a total and indefinite strike for years.”
According to him, the union has made several efforts to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Education and the National Assembly to present to them a firsthand view of what is going on in the education sector but their efforts have been unsuccessful.
He said: “When the present government came into office, ASUU exercised a lot of patience, a lot of understating as a form a support to the government and we indicated intention to have an audience with the President who is the visitor to all the federal universities, the Minister of Education and the National Assembly so as to make government see the need to address these pending issues but that has not been granted up till now.”
Eyang added that the government never showed any commitment to address any of the issues being agitated by the union including those that do not involve money like the low subvention to the universities and the Treasury Single Account, which are stifling the universities and have turned the lecturers to beggars as salaries are not paid in full for several months.
“There is a new form of slavery where university teachers are not given what they are entitled to which implies that the federal government has unilaterally reached a decision to reduce the entitlement of academic staff of universities which of course is against the labour law,” Eyang said.
He said the subventions to the universities have fallen in the past ten months, which, according to him, has increasingly made the universities unable to pay the full entitlement of its workers.