By Helen Shok Jok. Abuja.
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions NASU has threatened to withdraw the services of its members working in Nigeria offices of West African Examination Council WAEC.
In a statement issued on Sunday by the General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi, the action, which is slated to commence on October 14th 2019 became necessary as the union’s previous letter was not responded to by the management of WAEC.
Issues in contention according to NASU include review of scheme of service; need to create more establishment for its members, unfair termination of appointment of Comrade Waziri Erinus and refusal of the management to implement the policy on ex-gratia.
Others are: Dichotomy of payment allowance to members serving Council’s Meetings, irregular recruitment of Examination Officers and incessant and unwarranted query to some union’s officers.
Adeyemi noted that though the Union Headquarters was reliably informed that work on re-review of scheme of service has reached appreciable level, the management’s reluctance to harmonise the grey areas was delaying its approval and operation.
“In view of the importance of scheme of service in daily administration, it is highly imperative that the Head National Office HNO, not only talk the talk but also walk the walk as he promised in one of the meetings held with NASU executive branch committee, by immediately setting up a committee of management and NASU to work on the grey areas and come up with scheme of service that meets international standard and yearning of staff”, Adeyemi said
He said that the review of scheme of service has been lingering since the year 2013 without any positive resolution despite the union’s favourable disposition to collective bargaining with the WAEC management on the matter.
The NASU Scribe who described the level of stagnation of officers in the Council as worrisome, said the situation was a clear case of injustice on the affected staff.
He said, “The truth of the matter is that the affected staffers are due for promotions and are also qualified but they are denied. I therefore call for the creation of additional Establishments to take care of the affected staff in the spirit of fairness and equity”.
On the termination of the appointment of Waziri Erinus, Adeyemi said, “Let me reiterate here that NASU believes in justice and fair play; it is on this premise that I demand that the termination of appointment of Comrade Waziri S. Erinus should be revisited.
“The fact remains that the panel constituted to try him was defective because NASU was not represented in the panel to defend his interest.”
NASU also flayed what it called the decision of WAEC to neglect to implement the policy on ex-gratia.
“The union believes that it is improper for the payment to be stopped midway as there is no justification to change the goal post in the middle of a game. The stoppage is a gimmick from the management to polarise the workers in the Council. Therefore, those who were schemed out of the payment should be paid without delay”, Adeyemi stated.
NASU is also not happy with what it termed the dichotomy of payment allowance to members serving Council’s Meetings.
“The dichotomy in payment of allowances to staff serving Council’s Meetings and conduct of examinations offshore is a great injustice which should be stopped as there is no justification for such pernicious action as what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and as such equality and fairness should be maintained in the payment of allowances to those involved in such crucial and important assignments”, the union noted.
The attempt by WAEC to engage fresh examination officers also drew the ire of the non-academic staff union.
The union said the management should as a matter of policy look inward in the employment of Examination Officers as some staff are already trained and have qualification to assume such position instead of employing fresh hands that need to be trained in order to fit into the system, as this increases productivity and reduces cost of training or retraining of new staff.
NASU also said that it has observed the regularity of queries issued to some of the union officers noting that most of the queries were issued based on “flimsy and inconsequential offences”, which is a form of intimidation, targeted at witch-hunting the members of the union.
On previous letters written to the Management of WAEC on the issues raised, Adeyemi said none of the union’s letters to the WAEC management has been responded to so far.
“I therefore express concerns about the nonchalance of WAEC management in its treatment of these important lingering issues, which could put the global campaign for decent work policy and wellbeing of workers in WAEC Nigeria in jeopardy.
“It is on this premise that your management is hereby given a period of 21 days from the date hereon to positively resolve all the issues listed above,” Comrade Adeyemi said.
He adds that if WAEC fails, the union will have no other option than to direct it’s members in WAEC throughout Nigeria to proceed on total strike by Monday, 14th October 2019.