Tuesday, February 7, 2017 12:39 am
An indefinite strike embarked upon by members of variois unions in the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, has paralysed academuc activities in the polytechnic.
The unions are: Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (NASUP).
They staged a protest over alleged failure of the management of the polytechnic to enrol them on CONTISS 15 Migration Salary Structure and non-payment of N1.8 billion owed them.
Chairman of ASUP, Mr. Justin Momodu, while commenting on the strike, said it would be indefinite until the management yielded to their demands.
“We are on indefinite strike because the polytechnic management has refused to negotiate with us. We have resolved that we would not return to the classrooms until all our demands are made,” he said.
Also, speaking, the Chairman of SSANIP, Mr. Godwin Ikhide, said the polytechnic’s management had been paying workers from welfare savings and union dues, which were deducted from their salaries.
Ikhide added that the union could no longer access loans from its purse because of the huge amounts already borrowed from its account by the school management.
“Members of our union cannot access loan due to the school management owing us N1.8 billion,” he said.
In his reaction, spokesman of the institution, Mr. Mustapha Oshiobugie, said management could no longer fund the CONTISS 15 Migration salaries and that management had been using its internally generated revenue to fund the salaries of workers, adding that it could no longer sustain it due to non approval by the federal government to up set the CONTISS fund.
He said: “Management have nothing against CONTISS 15 Migration, the problem is that Migration is not approved by the Salaries and Wages Commission, and because there is no approval for that migration to that salaries is not funded by the Federal Government.
“What has been going on is that the school has been using internally generated resources to pay that salaries, by November last year it was clear that the situation can no longer continue.
“So we put the union on notice that by January if government is not funding it we will have no option than to stop, or suspend the payment.
“There is a ministerial directive to all polytechnics that are having problem in paying that salaries to suspend further payment until the verification committee set up by the Federal Government comes up with its recommendation on CONTISS 15 as it affects level 11 and below.”
Commenting on the alleged N1.8 billion being owed the unions, Oshiobugie said; “When you now say the school is owing you N1.8 billion, how? That money they are talking about was used to pay their salaries on an agreement between the two sides.
“They are now demanding N1.8billion, it is like you are eating your cake, you are wanting it at the same time.
“If management must pay back this money, CONTISS 15 Migration funding will have to stop and indeed it has stopped from this month.”
According to him, the management had set up an eight-man committee, comprising members of the unions, to workout the modalities of repaying the money to the union.