The National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) has suspended its six months old industrial action over non-implementation of FGN/NAAT 2009 Agreement.
The National President of NAAT, Ibeji Nwokoma, who disclosed this at a news conference at its National Secretariat in Gwagwalada on Thursday, said the suspension would last for only three months.
Nwokoma said before the association embarked on strike, several letters were written to both the Ministers of Education and Labour and Employment stating their demands and the need to address them.
According to him, results of a referendum from branches showed that 80 per cent voted in favour of suspension of the strike while 19 per cent voted for continuation of the strike action.
“You will recall that the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) embarked on strike from 21st March, 2022 till date (158 days today), for the following reasons.
“The refusal to release enabling circular for the implementation of CONTISS 14 and 15 for Academic Technologists and Non-payment of the arrears of Earned Allowances to our members.
“Non conclusion of the FGN/NAAT 2009 Agreement renegotiation and Non provision of funds for upgrade of Public Universities’ Laboratories/ Workshops, Studios and farms.
“Inconsistencies of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) operations, the proliferation and poor funding of state universities.
“These efforts led to the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) including that of 2017, 2020 and 2021.
“The strike became inevitable as a result of government insensitivity to addressing our genuine demands concerning the FGN/NAAT 2009 agreement and MoU it signed with our union,” he said.
The NAAT President said that during the period of the industrial action, the union held several meetings with government representatives, which included the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.
He said that the union, following a robust engagement with the government was able to secure commitments and resolutions on some of its demands, even as it rejected the ‘No work, No pay’ policy of the Federal Government.
He listed commitments secured from the Federal Government to include the release of enabling circular on CONTISS 14 and 15, agreements on payment of arrears of minimum wage/consequential adjustments, payment of occupational hazard allowance, implementation of responsibility allowance, among others.
“As a product of these efforts, the union was able to extract the following resolutions and commitment from government as follows.
“Payment of Arrears of Earned Allowance; government made a commitment of N50bn for payment of earned allowances to all members of the four university based unions by January, 2023.
“Release of Circular for CONTISS 14 and 15 for Academic Technologists; minister of education agreed to do the necessary follow-up at the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation to facilitate the release of the circular within the shortest time.
“By this development, all NAAT members in tertiary institutions are directed to resume work with effect from the date stated above,” he said.
He, therefore, urged students, especially final year project students/researchers with ongoing research activities and other unfinished practical works to come for the completion of their project.
He rejected the government’s position to invoke the ‘No work, No pay rule’, saying that the association was not the architect of the prolonged strike action but rather government failure to address all the contending issues promptly.
“It should be noted that NAAT complied with all laid down procedures before embarking on the industrial action, therefore, NAAT demands in strong terms the payment of our withheld salaries without delay,” he said.