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CONUA Demands Payment of Withheld Salaries

The Congress of University Academics (CONUA) has urged the Federal Government to promptly initiate the payment of salaries withheld for three and a half months, along with the remunerations of its members, which have remained unchanged despite escalating inflation.

In a press release issued recently, CONUA President, 'Niyi Sunmonu, expressed gratitude to the government for disbursing four months' worth of salaries out of the seven and a half months during which the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was on strike. 

He emphasized the need for the government to settle the remaining outstanding salaries, emphasizing that CONUA did not partake in the strike action.

The statement highlighted CONUA's consistent stance of not declaring or participating in any strike action. Sunmonu criticized the government for grouping together those who engaged in the strike with those who did not, stressing that this undermines the recognition of alternative approaches besides strikes for addressing academics' demands. He referenced a court judgment affirming CONUA's status as an independent union.

CONUA asserted that since it neither initiated nor joined any strike, withholding salaries violates Section 43 (1b) of the Trade Disputes Act CAP. T8, which mandates payment of wages and other applicable remunerations during a lockout period without prejudicing workers' rights.

CONUA demanded the immediate commencement of the payment process to ensure peace within universities. Sunmonu also called for the payment of remunerations for academics, citing a directive from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission for salary increments, which has not been implemented despite inflationary pressures.

Furthermore, CONUA urged the establishment of a negotiation committee, involving all academic unions and stakeholders, to review academics' emoluments in Nigerian universities, considering current economic realities exacerbated by the fuel subsidy removal.

Additionally, CONUA called on President Bola Tinubu to rectify the dissolution of Governing Councils of Federal Universities in accordance with the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act 2003, aligning with the administration's commitment to university autonomy and recognizing the contributions of experienced individuals to the educational system.

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