The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) has vowed to go on a solidarity strike in support of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and other unions.
MHWUN National President, Mr Biobelemoye Josiah, made the vow via a statement jointly signed with the Acting Secretary General of the union, Mr Auwalu Kiyawa, on Sunday.
ASUU and other unions in public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education, have been on industrial action for more than six months over alleged failure of the Federal Government to meet their demands.
The unions are demanding funding of the revitalisation fund, earned allowances, implementation of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) scheme, as well as promotion arrears.
Other demands are the renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement, and the resolution of inconsistency in the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), among others.
Josiah further condemned the lethargic attitude of the Federal Government in resolving the issues in contention.
He said: “In order to protect the future of our youths whose academic life is being disrupted, we call on the government to implement without further delay all the agreements it had entered with the unions.
“We urge the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari’s earlier directive to resolve all outstanding issues with the unions is backed by immediate acceptable action that would end the stalemate.
“MHWUN wishes to use this medium to unequivocally state that we firmly stand behind the university based unions and the clear position of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), leadership in this historic struggle.
“Our state councils have been put on red alert, and we will not hesitate to declare a solidarity strike in support of the unions if government fails to resolve the issues within a reasonable time.”
According to the MHWUN President, no responsible government will close down its public tertiary institutions over patriotic demands for a better funding of its universities and good welfare for its teaching and non-teaching staff.
He described it as shameful, saying the union was irked that the Federal Government and the political actors had abandoned the children of the masses at home to waste away.
“Instead, they are seen dissipating energy and resources that could have been used to resolve the issue to fund political tussles.
“We are more worried with the development because the academic future of the citizenry is being disrupted.
“Whereas the politicians and top government officials have their children mostly in well funded and equipped overseas schools or in relatively expensive private schools in Nigeria.
“Discerning minds will agree with us that the negative impact of the strike to the future of our children and Nigeria in general cannot be quantified,” Josiah said.
Josiah, however, called on people of goodwill to stand up in defence of the right and future of students and Nigeria, by demanding that the government did the right thing to bring the students back to the classroom.
The union also condemned the spate of insecurity in the country, noting that the rising orgies of killing, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and extreme agitation for secession, had assumed a dangerous dimension.
“Nigerian workers are no longer safe, both in their homes and at work places, as many have lost their lives to these enemies of state.
“We therefore, demand for a resolute action from government to end this degrading assault on the sovereignty of our nation,” the MHWUN President said.
Also speaking on the current economic crisis, Josiah condemned the current scarcity of diesel, cooking gas, petrol, aviation fuel, and the rising prices of goods and services in the country.
He said the pathetic development had further exposed workers, whose salaries and income has already been eroded by inflation, to greater hardships.
“The situation reinforces the earlier call by the organised labour for a resolute action on domestic refining of petroleum,” he said.
Josiah, however, called MHWUN members to ensure they registered and obtained their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) ahead of the 2023 general election.