As the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike 2013 continues, the latest update is that senators are shocked at the union’s demands–including a senator who was once a union member.
The union has been on strike for over four months, bringing much of the education in the country to a standstill. The union says that the government hasn’t been fulfilling responsibilities outlined in a contract signed in 2009.
However, the public and senators were shocked when details of the contract were revealed in a recent senate hearing.
The lecturers were asking for maternity leave, housing loan, sick leave, injury pension, vehicle loan/car refurbishing loan, postgraduate supervision allowance, teaching practice/industrial supervision/ field trip allowances and honoraria for external moderation of undergraduate and postgraduate examinations, reported This Day.
Other demands included postgraduate study grants, staff schools, and compulsory retirement age.
“In all, ASUU demanded for a whopping N1.5 trillion expected to be paid within three years of 2009 to 2011,” the news outlet reported.
Senator Sola Adeyeye, a former lecturer, expressed his shock at the demands.
“I asked ASUU during one of our meetings: is there any nation where any of such allowances is paid according to international standard? A typical teacher teaches two courses in a semester for three hours a week. You are paid salaries, why should you be paid again for these other things? Where in the world are lecturers paid examination allowances? Where is a professor paid allowances for supervising postgraduate students? Why is he a professor in the first place?
“What you cannot ask for in other spheres ought not be asked for here,” he added. “The standard practice in the United States is that if you go on sabbatical, you ‘ll be paid for six months; if you spend more than that, you have to fund it yourself. Where in the world do you say the Federal Government should be involved in the funding of state universities?”
Senate President David Mark agreed, saying that the union members were unfair to Nigeria and a bunch of ignorant persons.
“It only shows the level of people the executive sent to go and negotiate on its behalf because people must be told the truth, what can be accomplished and what cannot be accomplished… ASUU took advantage of the ignorance of those who were sent and simply just allowed this agreement to go on because it is obvious that this is going to be a very difficult piece of paper to implement.”
Meanwhile, lecturers who are on strike are finding ways to cope with not getting paid during the strike, under the “no work, no pay” rules.
Jude Osy Nwankwo, who teaches at the University of Nigeria, said that he is tired of the strike, and even the traders in the market are impacted.
“He who fights and run away lives to fight another day,” he wrote on Facebook, reported the Osun Defender.
Another professor said: “Students are crying, Lecturers too are crying!”
But not all the lecturers are crying, said another professor.
“I’ve been busy with one group research or the other (official) + being a Visiting Facilitator to one blue chip company or the other (unofficial),” said Manumehe Raphael Uzoma.
In the evenings, he adde,d he conducts music classes for different choirs.
“So, honestly, I’m not feeling the strike. Finances have run to an all time low, but I’m still pushing on,” he said.
In response, Jude Osy Nwankwo said: “Ralph you’re lucky to be in Ibadan. The situation is so bad in Nsukka because the students are the driving force of Nsukka economy. Nothing is happening here bro.”
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