Withheld Salaries: NAAT- MOUAU Joins Counterparts Across Country In A 3-Day Warning Strike

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Members of the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, MOUAU, branch, has embarked on a three day warning strike over the non-payment of over five months withheld salaries.

The strike was in keeping with the directive from the National Executive Council of the union, led by Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma.

The strike was called to enable the union to press home its demand for the payment of withheld salaries of members of NAAT as approved by the Presidency.

It was gathered that the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari had invoked the ‘No work, no pay’ policy, which meant that the university workers were not paid salaries within the period they were on strike.

But President Bola Tinubu in October 2023 directed that the university workers who embarked on a prolonged strike in 2022 be paid their withheld salaries, which NAAT’s salaries culminating to 5 and half months.

Declaring the warning strike on Wednesday, Chairman of NAAT MOUAU, Ifeanyi Kenneth Nwaji, said some members of the association in Abia State have died of hunger and sickness because of their withheld salaries.

Comrade Nwaji, who doubles as the South East Zonal Public Relations Officer of NAAT, noted that Federal Government had before the suspension of the ASUU strike agreed that no worker would be victimized.

He regretted, however, that the same Federal Government has gone contrary to the agreement.

The workers who protested from the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, CEET, through the university boulevard to the Administration Building to the MOUAU gate, chanted songs, calling on Tinubu to intervene as the economic crisis in the country, coupled with non release of the money, has sent some of their members to the grave.

They had placards with inscriptions such as, “Pay Us Our Withheld Salaries”, “Broken Promises Broken Trust: Respect Our 2009 Agreement, We Deserve Better”, “We Say No To Unfair Treatment” among others.

They warned that they will embark on a further seven days warning strike, and an indefinite strike, if nothing was done after the warning strike.

The association decried a situation where members of a sister union in the university system were paid their withheld four months salaries while NAAT members, who are owed more than five months pay, were excluded from the payment.

They warned that NAAT should not be blamed if an indefinite strike disrupts Nigeria’s academic system again.

The three-day warning strike which commenced from Wednesday, March 20 is expected to end on Friday, March 22, 2024.