NON-teaching teaching staff of universities are poised for a showdown with the Federal Government after the lockdown over the irregularities experienced in the payment of salaries since they enrolled in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS.
Leadership of two university based unions, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, have lamented that their migration to the IPPIS has been full of woes. But the President of SSANU, Comrade Samson Ugwoke, has pleaded with his members to exercise patience with the executive especially on the challenges concerning deductions, wrong salary placements and non issuance of pay slips.
On his part, President of NAAT, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma, lamented that his members have not been paid the April salary despite the hardship they were passing through as a result of the lockdown. He also expressed dismay at the irregularities they have been facing since they joined the IPPIS platform. Speaking with Vanguard in Abuja, the NAAT president who recently took over the mantle of leadership of the union said: “Barely two weeks after the handover formalities, we were confronted with the outcry of our members in federal institutions as a result of payment of February salaries from the IPPIS platform occasioned by removal of occupational hazard allowance and other earned and peculiar allowances coupled with other anomalies/irregularities in over taxation, high deduction in pension contributions, union dues, National Housing Fund, etc. “We quickly notified the IPPIS office of the development and followed it up with a meeting with the director. In the course of making the concerted efforts, the COVID-19 reared up its ugly head with the attendant lockdown, unfortunately, the observed irregularities/anomalies were not corrected when March salary was paid. It is important that I state clearly here that our enrolment into IPPIS was done with the best of intentions and in the overall interest of the generality of our members. Let me re-assure you that the occupational hazard allowance and indeed other allowances will be restored and arrears paid in full. “I plead for your continuous understanding and patience. After the lockdown and the ban on inter-state movement lifted, the national leadership will ensure that the irregularities are corrected and pay slips made available and check off dues paid appropriately. If, however, IPPIS continues to show signs of unpreparedness to accommodate the peculiarities of the universities, the union will be left with no option than to re-appraise her enrolment into the platform. We must admit that this is a trying moment for our dear country Nigeria.” The SSANU President, Comrade Ugwoke told Vanguard: “As leaders, we are not unaware of challenges of deductions, wrong salary placements and even non issuance of payslips.” He had said in his address at the Workers Day: “While it may be cumbersome to highlight all what transpired that led to the decision to enrol into IPPIS in this address, let me state that the decision was made in the interests of our members welfare and with all sense of responsibility. “All considerations were done putting the welfare of our members on the front burner. However, as things worked out, the corona scourge also left many communication gaps which are yet to be filled because the necessary union officials cannot effectively interface with the IPPIS office as required. “Although there have been communications with the IPPIS office, these communications have not achieved the results which direct physical contact and engagement would have produced thus leading to the uncomfortable situation we find ourselves. As leaders, we are not unaware of challenges of deductions, wrong salary placements and even non issuance of payslips. “While there have been insinuations that perhaps the union agreed to migrate to IPPIS because of checkoff dues, let me inform you that till date, no checkoff dues have been paid to the coffers of the union from IPPIS and even with our discussions so far, we do not know how soon such payments can be made to the union. “While we had always been conscious of the fact that there would be teething problems of migration to the platform, the enormity of the problem has been compounded by the lockdown. I, however, assure that as soon as interstate movements are relaxed, action would be taken to ensure that the present confusion is resolved. I, therefore, plead for the patience of our members in this regard.”