Strike: Again, ASUU Rejects IPPIS, To Pursue Court Case

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Again, ASUU Rejects IPPIS, To Pursue Court Case

Again, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has rejected the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPIS, set to pursue court case.

PREMIUM TIMES reports that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has again rejected the continuous use of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) for the payment of university lecturers’ entitlements.

The government had, in granting concessions to ASUU, said it would work with the union to modify IPPIS to recognise the peculiarities of universities and the features of the lecturer’s preferred platform of payment – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

At a meeting brokered by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Acting Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Okolieaboh Sylva, said the adoption of more than one payment platform by the government will lead to additional costs, which the government cannot afford to take on.

But speaking during PREMIUM TIMES Weekly Twitter Spaces on Wednesday, ASUU’s Vice President, Chris Piwuna, said the union never accepted IPPIS or its modified version.

He said the union’s stance remains a guarantee of the autonomy of universities. He said the payment of university workers’ salaries from the Office of the Head of Service is meddling in the affairs of the universities.

“We are not accepting that IPPIS is in any shape or form. ASUU will never accept IPPIS on our campuses,” he said.

“Autonomy of Nigerian university is our problem, not the peculiarities in IPPIS…The Office of the Head of Service of the Federation has taken over the work of the university governing councils and vice-chancellors.

“We are asking that they take their hands off the universities.”

Court case continues

Mr Piwuna also said the lecturers’ union would continue to pursue its case with the Nigerian government at the industrial court.

He said even though the union obeyed the court to suspend the strike, it would continue to pursue the case.

The government cannot bully labour unions to silence, he said.

“Our lawyers will continue to argue our case in court and we believe that the continuation of the case in court is very important for the labour movement in this country,” he said.

“And in the response of our lawyers, they had to raise issues of agreement that have not been kept and all of that.

“We are interested in the court case, we are hoping that the judges will listen and they are watching the government and they can say ASUU is nothing other than a respectable union that has respect for the court,” Mr Piwuna added.

Speaking on the salary increment proposed by the government, Mr Piwuna said ASUU has an agreement with the federal government as contained in the negotiated agreement with the Nimi Briggs committee.

Following the submission of the Briggs committee’s draft, the government proposed a 23.5 per cent salary increase for all university workers and 35 per cent for professors. But ASUU rejected it saying it was different from the contents of the Briggs committee’s agreement.

“We rejected a unilateral award of the new award of salary structure for our union because we have an understanding with the committee. The Agreement with Briggs committee was based on a collective bargaining agreement,” said the ASUU vice president.

He said ASUU believes that the Briggs committee represented the executive arm of government throughout the period of the negotiation, as it was set up by the government.

He said: “Government has not come out to tell us they disagree with Nimi Briggs recommendations…If they had given the offer to the Briggs committee and we negotiated, that would have been collective bargaining.”

Optimistic about salaries

Meanwhile, the official expressed optimism that the lecturers’ eight months’ salaries would be paid.

The government had insisted it would apply the ‘No work, No Pay’ rule throughout the period of strike by the university lecturers.

But Mr Piwuna said that the Speaker of the House of Representatives has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to pay the union’s withheld salaries, but the union is yet to hear from the president.

He said the president was reluctant to grant the appeal because the president believes the union should not have embarked on the strike.