By Ibukun Emiola, Ibadan.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Thursday advised the Committee of Pro-chancellors of State Owned Universities in Nigeria (COPSON) to stop playing to the gallery.
The union said that the pro-chancellors should learn from their counterparts in the federal universities who were impressing on the government to do the needful for public universities.
The declarations of ASUU were conveyed via a statement on Thursday by the Convener, ASUU Rapid Response, Prof. Ade Adejumo, entitled: “COPSON: Stoking the Blaze of Discord”.
Adejumo said that no amount of threats would make the union to stop fighting for quality education and welfare of its members.
ASUU was reacting to the communique issued at the end of the meeting of COPSON where the committee said that the government should enforce “No Work No Pay” and that the centrally agreed negotiations would not be binding on them.
Adejumo said that COPSON ought to understand that the principle of collective bargaining was sanctioned by the law.
He asked COPSON to explain “why have they not insisted that policies and directives of central regulatory bodies like JAMB, NUC and NYSC are not binding on them?”
Adejumo said: “ASUU is one; a thousand communique and threats from COPSON cannot break our ranks and iron resolve to see this struggle and any other one in the future to its successful end.”
He challenged the pro-chancellors to provide evidence where they had improved the salaries and welfare of lecturers in their universities.
Adejumo said that the pro-chancellors of state universities “are always eager to run to Abuja to collect money from TETFUND. which was brought into existence by ASUU.
“But we only wonder whether some people’s consciences go on holiday when they sit down to make certain pronouncements.
“These, indeed, are grave moments. Ominous signs on the horizon for our education system.
“The latest assault on the university system in Nigeria is captured by the communique released by the committee of pro-chancellors of state universities.
“The ‘fatwah’ declared on the principle of collective bargaining by a duly registered union like ASUU for its members is quite worrisome.
“If we may ask, what is the function of a union if not to see to the welfare of its members?
“Why is COPSON fixated on the curious idea that centrally negotiated salaries by ASUU with the government will not be binding on them when they have always been represented in such negotiations?
“Why have they not insisted that policies and directives of central regulatory bodies like JAMB, NUC and NYSC are not binding on them?
“Why is COPSON behaving like Chichidudu of Ayi Kwei Armah’s tale?” he quipped.