A few weeks after returning from a major strike that lasted over five months, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has drawn another battle line with the National University Commission, NUC, threatening the new found peace between its members and the Federal Government.
The subject of disagreement this time is an Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System, IPPIS, form sent by the NUC to universities for teaching staff to fill and return.
The University of Ibadan chapter of ASUU on Sunday, directed its members not to fill the forms as requested, saying the system went against the university autonomy fought for and won by the union in 1992.
According to the union, the form was aimed at creating a central salary payment structure for academic staff of universities across the country.
While condemning the NUC for the latest move which, it said, might threaten peace, ASUU advised the NUC boss, Julius Okojie, to face the daunting task of ensuring that needed facilities and infrastructure were in universities rather than putting interest in fraud-related forms.
ASUU noted that university lecturers were focusing on how to cover lost grounds during the strike and did not want to be derailed into another battle.
In a mail sent to members of the union in the premier university, the branch Secretary, Deji Omole, noted that the move was to inject a new form of fraud into salary payment in universities.
“Dear members, our attention has been drawn to an NUC Circular directing university staff to fill IPPIS forms. This is to remind you that the union’s position on IPPIS has not changed. Until NEC reviews its earlier decision, NO ASUU MEMBER IS TO FILL THE FORM. NEC is to discuss this issue in February and give further directive. United we bargain, divided we beg,” the mail read.
Explaining why the union was rejecting the IPPS, the chairman University of Ibadan ASUU, Olusegun Ajiboye, said the latest move by NUC was aimed at further creating problems for the university lecturers.
According to him, the integrated payment system did not take into consideration the peculiarities of the work of academic staff and negated the principle of autonomy which ASUU won since 1992.
He explained that academic staff were employed by their respective university councils which managed the resources and took care of the welfare of its staff; and not centrally by the NUC.
“IPPS negates the principle of University autonomy that ASUU fought for. We are employed by our respective governing councils and not centrally by NUC. For salaries to be paid from Abuja is strange to world university system apart from the dangers inherent in it. IPPS does not take into consideration the peculiarities of our job,” Mr. Ajoboye said.
“Now that we are even paid by our universities, members who have problems with their salaries face difficulties before getting it resolved let alone salaries being paid from Abuja. They are talking of ghost workers when salaries have not been paid from Abuja but somebody in front of the system in Abuja will manufacture fictitious names and pay themselves. It will give room for fraud and make life difficult for our profession and members. We say no to IPPS,” he added.