Breaking:Staff of state-owned tertiary institutions begin three days warning strike

Academic and other activities will be grounded at State-owned tertiary institutions in Oyo State, as academic and non-academic staff under the aegis of Joint Action Committee of Trade Unions in state-owned tertiary institutions, today, Wednesday, May 29, 2024 embark on a three-day warning strike to press home their demands from the government.

Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Trade Unions, comprising the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP), Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), and Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education in Nigeria (SSUCOEN), representing The Polytechnic Ibadan, The Oke-Ogun Polytechnic (TOPS) Saki, Adeseun Ogundoyin Polytechnic (AOP) Eruwa, Oyo State College of Education (OYSCOED) Lanlate, and Oyo State College of Agricultural Technology (OYSCATECH) Igboora, announced that the three-day warning strike will be from Wednesday, May 29, 2024, to Friday, May 31, 2024.

In a statement signed by JAC Secretary, Akin Adekanbi, and made available to journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the workers unions noted that the three days warning strike was neccessitated by exhaustive discussions and numerous deadlines issued to the Oyo State Government through the Ministry of Education, noting that that no substantive resolutions have been achieved.

The statement reads in parts:”The Joint Congress first issued a 21-day ultimatum on January 31, 2024, followed by a 14-day notice on March 11, 2024, and another 7-day ultimatum on May 10, 2024.

“Each ultimatum was followed by meetings with the Ministry of Education, yet the issues remain unresolved. The final 3-day notice was issued on May 23, 2024, culminating in 114 days without a resolution from the government. On May 27, 2024, a meeting with the Ministry of Education again yielded no concrete resolutions, leaving the JAC with no option but to initiate the warning strike.

“The demands in contention are: 1. Implementation of 25/35% Salary Increment: The JAC is dismayed by the government’s lack of commitment to implementing the 25/35% salary increment, already in effect at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology – LAUTECH (due to their financial autonomy and robust IGR approved by government) since February 2024.

“This discrimination against polytechnic and college of Education staff is unacceptable. The treatment meted out to our sector is making us play second fiddle in the scheme of things in Oyo State tertiary Educations sector. Apart from LAUTECH and other universities that are highly favoured by government for improved IGR (No deductions of 10% of their revenue by consultant and highly commensurate tuition fees system), there is no Polytechnic or College of Education in Oyo State that can implement the new salary increment without the funding from government.

“We demand the immediate implementation of this 25/35% increment and the payment of arrears from January 2023. 2. Platinum Consultant: The Platinum Consultant’s activities have turned into a financial burden, siphoning off 10% of internally generated revenue from our institutions. The money that should have been used for academic commitments are being deducted by the said consultant.

“Financial autonomy had been eroded from the institutions against best practices making the system inefficient and ineffective in meeting the demand of an educational institution. This practice must end immediately. Notably, all universities in the state – Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso, Emmanuel Alayande University of Education, Oyo and Abiola Ajimobi First Technical University, Ibadan were exempted from this arrangement highlighting discriminatory practices against the Polytechnic and College of Education in the state.

“3. Salary Augmentation: The current salary augmentation policy is unsustainable and detrimental to effective service delivery of our institutions. Schools are using substantial proportion of their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to augment salary of staff making it difficult to meet essential services and demands of academic institution. Oyo State Government should provide full subvention to end this debilitating practice.

“4. Shortage of Manpower and Casualization of Workers: There is a critical shortage of both teaching and non-teaching staff within our institutions, with many departments functioning with minimal academic staff of between 1 and 3 staff. Our Polytechnics and Colleges of Education now rely heavily on Casual staff for teaching and administrative functions. Some of these casual staff tagged Teaching Assistants have spent many years contributing their efforts, energy and academic qualifications to teaching, accreditations and rating of our institutions.

“These casual staff across the institutions should be regularised as permanent employees to ensure dedication and improved service delivery in line with the requirements of regulatory bodies. The stagnated non-academic staff (Cleaners and Gardeners) at OYSCOED, Lanlate for many years past should be regularised
“5. Governing Councils: The non-constitution and irregular tenure of Governing Councils about a year since they were dissolved are hindering policy decisions and promotions in our institutions. Immediate action is required to constitute these councils with immediate effect for efficient running and management of our institutions.
“6. 2018/2019 Salary Arrears: The non-payment of salary arrears for 2018/2019 in OYSCOED, Lanlate, OYSCATECH, Igboora and EAUED, Oyo is exacerbating the financial hardship of staff. These arrears must be settled without further delay.
“7. 2023 Promotion: The failure to issue 2023 promotion letters to senior staff of our institutions due to the absence of a Governing Council is inexcusable. The government must either constitute the councils promptly or authorise the Honourable Commissioner for Education to approve the promotions.

“We call upon the amiable Executive Governor of Oyo State, Mr Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde, to intervene and ensure the immediate resolution of these issues in the interest of the tertiary education sector and in alignment with his development agenda.

The Joint Action Committee remains committed to the progress and welfare of our institutions and hopes for a swift and positive response from the government to avoid further industrial actions.”

Credit: Nurudeen Alimin

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