Gives May 31 deadline to Accountant General to resolve dispute
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
SENIOR Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, has sent a notice of looming industrial dispute to the Federal Government as a result of the alleged many failings of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, in the payment of salaries to members.
Already, SSANU has given the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation up till the end of May to resolve all the disputes on salary payment for it members, threatening that it would not issue any further notice of a total and indefinite industrial strike action to the government after the universities reopen from the present lockdown.
In a letter to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, dated 15th May 2020 and signed by its President, Comrade Samson Ugwoke, which was cited by Vanguard, the association stated that after three instalments of salary payment and going into the fourth month, the IPPIS has not met the expectations of its members.
It further stated that the operations of IPPIS seem to have justified the position of a section of the University staff that had been vehemently opposed to its introduction to the University system in the first place.
Recall that the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has vehemently refused to enrol in the IPPIS platform.
The non-teaching staff Union in the letter said, “We write to bring to the attention of the Honourable Minister, the many shortcomings and lapses observed in the payments of salaries to members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) through the IPPIS platform.
“The Honourable Minister would kindly recall that the National leadership of SSANU had readily accepted the IPPIS and advised its members to embrace the platform with the understanding that the IPPIS would not only checkmate corruption and wastages in Nigerian Universities but would also capture the peculiarities of the university system and our members in its operations and implementation.
“After three instalments of salary payment and going into the fourth month, we regret to inform your good office that the IPPIS has not met the expectations of our members and its operations seem to have justified the position of a section of the University staff that had been vehemently opposed to its introduction to the University system in the first place.
“The observed shortcomings include Unnecessary and untenable delays going into the second half of the next month before salaries are paid.
“Muddling up of salary payments which have led to underpayments in many instances and over and multiple payments in other instances
“Wrongful interpretation and implementation of an extant document on statutory deductions as it relates to the salaries of staff in the university system
“Non-issuance of payslips for three months running. Non-implementation and even withdrawal of extant allowances as agreed in the FGN/SSANU 2009 agreement and other subsequent Memoranda of Understanding
“Non-payment of arrears of the new National Minimum Wage. Non-remittance of third party deductions such as Check-off dues, Cooperative and others.
“While our observations on the above lapses were communicated to the IPPIS office culminating in a meeting held on 20 March 2020, the reactions from its officials have not been convincing and run contrary to the spirit of the advice to our members to enrol into the platform.
“Subsequent communications have also yielded no positive responses except the introduction of different bottlenecks by the IPPIS office,
“Based on the foregoing, the Honourable Minister is hereby notified of the brewing tension among members of staff in the universities who are totally disenchanted and disillusioned by the shoddy treatment of the salary payments by IPPIS.
“As a responsible union and in compliance with the wishes of our membership, you are hereby notified of an Industrial dispute between the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation
“We further write to inform you that failure to resolve the issues (as in 1-7 above, leading to the ongoing dispute between the Union and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation after the May 2020 salary payment, SSANU would not issue any further notice of a total and indefinite Industrial Strike Action to the government after the Universities reopen from the present lockdown.”
The letter was copied to the Minister of Education, Accountant General of the Federation, and the Executive Secretary, NUC.
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