EDUCATION

Unpaid salaries: Strike looms in 32 tertiary institutions

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A major crisis may soon hit the nation’s education sector as no fewer than 32 state-owned tertiary institutions owe their academic and non-academic workers between four and 23 months’ salaries.

The workers, many of who spoke with our correspondents on Thursday, complained over the non-payment of their salaries.

The workers said they might embark on an indefinite strike if their entitlements were not paid within a short time.

The situation made members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, to demand for the payment of their 13 months’ salaries from the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, and his Osun State counterpart, Rauf Aregbesola. LAUTECH is owned by both Oyo and Osun states.

The lecturers also threatened to embark on industrial action if the governments of the two states refused to consent to their demand.

Chairman of LAUTECH ASUU, Dr. Oyebamiji Oyegoke, had said that the lecturers had been living in poverty as a result of the states’ refusal to fulfil their financial obligations to them.

Three of the four Kwara State-owned tertiary institutions – Kwara State University, Malete; College of Education, Ilorin; College of Education, Oro, owed their workers four months’ salaries, while the Kwara State College of Education (Technical), Lafiagi, owe one month’s salaries. The Kwara State College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies also owes its workers two months’ salaries.

It was also learnt that academic and non-academic workers at the Kogi State University, Ayingba; Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja; and Kogi State College of Education, Ankpa, have yet to receive their June salaries.

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In Edo State, workers at the College of Education, Ekhiadolor; College of Education, Igueben; College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi; and the Institute of Management and Technology, Usen, are being owed between two and four months’ salaries.

According to the Chairman, Coalition of State Owned Tertiary Institutions in Edo, Mr. Fred Omonuwa, the workers might resort to a protest as they had done in the past to push for the payment of their entitlements.

The situation at the Akwa Ibom State University, Uyo, is different from other states. It was gathered that many workers employed by the university’s management with a view to meeting some accreditation requirements by the National Universities Commission have not been paid for the past 16 months.

Even the regular workers, according to a lecturer who spoke on the condition of anonymity, are owed two months’ salaries.

Academic and their non-academic counterparts at the Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit, alleged that they had not been paid salaries for the past 23 months.

The Ekiti State University is being owed four months’ subventions by the state government.

Chairman of the university’s Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Mr. Ismail Falade, who disclosed this in a text message to one of our correspondents in Ado-Ekiti, added that the institution’s workers were being owed two months’ salaries.

The branch Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Olufayo Olu-Olu, explained that the institution’s management had paid net salary for March while the state government paid for April and May.

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The Osun State Polytechnic, Iree; Osun State Polytechnic, Esa-Oke; College of Education, Ila-Orangun and College of Education, Ilesa, also owe their academic and non-academic workers for the past six months.

The Public Relations Officer of Council of Academic Staff Unions of Osun State Owned Tertiary Institutions, Mr. Dotun Omisore, told one of our correspondents that they had just been paid 50 per cent of their January salaries while the state had also not remitted pension contributions deducted from their salaries since 2013.

The story is the same in Plateau State where all the seven tertiary institutions owned by the state -Plateau State University, Bokkos; Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin Ladi; College of Arts, Science and Technology, Kurgwi; College of Education, Gindiri; College of Agriculture, Garkawa; School of Health Technology, Pankshin; and School of Health Technology, Zawan – have not paid their workers for many months.

It was also learnt that the academic and non-academic workers at the Tai Solarin College of Education, Omu-Ijebu, Ogun State, are also angry over the non-payment of their 48 months’ salary arrears.

The workers’ unions’ leaders had written to the state government informing it that they were withdrawing their services until their salaries were paid.

But they were shocked to have received a letter signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Adeoluwa Taiwo, that the unions’ activities had been suspended within the campus, as he claimed they had been infiltrated by the enemies of the government.

Of the three Ondo State-owned tertiary institutions, only Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, does not owe salaries. The authorities of Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa; and Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, owe their workers two months’ pay.

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The Public Relations Officer of RUGIPO, Mr. Samuel Ojo, confirmed that the institution’s management had yet to pay the workers May and June salaries.

Sixty-five lecturers have not been paid for 35 months by the management of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Diobu.

The affected lecturers were recalled after being sacked for allegedly protesting the reappointment of the outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Barineme Fakae.

The 65 lecturers had claimed that Fakae’s reappointment did not follow due process.

The Acting Chairman of RSUST ASUU, Dr. Suobere Puyate, told Saturday PUNCH that apart from the 65 lecturers, who had not been paid, other lecturers have received their salaries up to June.

Apart from many months of their arrears and allowances that were allegedly not paid to them, academic and non-academic workers of the Cross River University of Technology, Calabar, are being owed three months’ salaries.

Though it was learnt that the management of Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, did not owe the institution’s regular lecturers, Chairman NDU ASUU, Dr. Beke Sese, said graduate assistants had not received a dime since they were employed over two years ago by the institutions management.

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