There are media reports that the federal government Monday, may have implemented the ‘no work, no pay’ policy for the striking university-based unions, including ASUU which started on February 14, NASU, SSANU and NAAT who resumed their strikes in March.
According to Vanguard, the federal government has invoked the ‘no work, no pay’ policy against the striking unions.
The President of NAAT, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma, confirmed this, saying members of his union were not paid full salaries in March.
He also said the government has ignored all the notices for the ongoing strike and had refused to acknowledge all the letters sent in that regard.
What is the ‘no work, no pay’ system?
Section 43 of the Trade Disputes Act says:
- (a) where any worker takes part in a strike, he shall not be entitled to any wages or other remuneration for the period of the strike, and any such period shall not count for the purpose of reckoning the period of continuous employment and rights dependent on continuity of employment shall be prejudicially affected accordingly.
Nwokoma said that seizing the salary of the union members would not make them call off the strike as the action was in the interest of the system.
Asked to give an update on the union’s strike, Comrade Nwokoma said, “As of today, we have entered the fifth week of our warning strike, the first two weeks and then we rolled over for four weeks. Unfortunately, as we are talking, the government has not acknowledged all the notices of the strike, all the letters we wrote to them as of today.
“Government has not also invited us or found it necessary to invite us to a round table discussion, so as to find a way forward. And unfortunately too ,government has decided to stop our salaries, using the no work, no pay principle.”
Meanwhile, the two-week warning strike by the Non-Academic Staff Union and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) was extended by two weeks due to Federal Government’s inaction.
A spokesman for the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of both unions, Peters Adeyemi, said the current administration has been unwilling the engage them.
In a circular to NASU and SSANU branch chairmen in universities and inter-university centres with reference number JAC/NS/VOL.II/224, dated 21st April 2022, the JAC said the latest circular was a sequel to the ones with numbers JAC/NS/VOL. II/210 and JAC/NS/VOL.II/220 dated 25th March 2022 and 8th April 2022 in respect of the two weeks warning strike, which “ended early this morning (Monday).”
In late March, the Federal Government restated its threat not to pay any of its employees on strike or absent from duty post without due authorisation.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said the government had decided to apply the “No-work, No Pay” policy in compliance with Section 43 of the Labour Law.
Ngige said that the actions of the unions amounted to “false leave” and a declaration of forced holidays for students. He reminded the members that the government was not “Father Xmas.”
He said, “Anybody on strike now will not be paid in consonance with Section 43.
“What they (unions) are doing is false leave; they are forcing their employers to close down some of their universities and declare holiday for students because of that.
“So if you do that, you will not be paid. Government is not Father Christmas where you are not working and you will be paid.”
How does this end especially with the tensions around the 2023 general elections? Are we going to sit back and allow politicians drown the education system?