By Aderemi Bamgbose
Okitipupa (Ondo State), Oct. 19, 2020 The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology (OAUSTECH), Okitipupa chapter, has said that its members will not resume work as directed by the state government.
The union, in a statement issued by its Chairman, Dr Dipo Akomolafe and the Secretary, Mr Rotimi Olorunisola, on Monday in Okitipupa, said that this was due to the non-payment of the salaries and allowances of the lecturers by the government.
Naija247news reports that the state government had directed all schools and tertiary institutions to resume on Oct.19, after their closure more than six months ago over the coronavirus pandemic.
Aside the issue of salaries and allowances, ASUU also said that it was still observing the nationwide strike called by the national body, adding that no directive had been issued for members to resume work.
The union said that even when the nationwide strike was over, it still had some issues to settle with the state government, particularly the several months of unpaid salaries, allowances and deductions.
“The attention of the union has been drawn to the notice of resumption issued by the university administration, in compliance with the state government’s directive that tertiary institutions in the state should open for academic activities.
“The union wishes to inform the general public, especially students, parents and guardians of the institution, that the university is not in condition for teaching, learning and community service, as ASUU is on a national strike.
“Most of the contentious issues between ASUU and governments – federal and states – that led to the ongoing strike are shortfall in salary, non-payment of Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) and inadequate funding of universities,” ASUU said.
It added that the union had never expected the university administration to comply with what it called the ‘ignominious directive’ of the government, considering the lingering crisis which had yet to be settled.
“The monthly subvention to the university from the state government before the current administration was N60 million, but it dropped to N42 million and was further reduced to N21 million in August.
“The capital grant of the university was not less than N290 million per annum before now but since its reduction, the university has been gasping for breath.
“In 2018, the state government gave the approval to recruit additional 40 lecturers to boost the staff strength of the university in the newly-created Faculties of Agriculture and Engineering, with a promise that the university would be assisted financially.
“In 2019, the sum of N500 million was allocated to the university to complete some abandoned capital projects but only N4.4 million was eventually released.
“Apart from unpaid salaries to staff since July and unpaid deductions running to several months, the university has yet to effect payment of Earned Academic Allowances to the academic staff, which is standing at over N428,000,’’ it added.
The union said that based on the above, it might not be able to guarantee industrial harmony, even if the nationwide strike was suspended, unless the state government paid all the outstanding salaries and deductions up to date.
However, the OAUSTECH acting Registrar, Mr Idowu Omowole, in his reaction, said that since the institution was owned by the state government, management had no choice than to comply with its directives.
He, however, said that the state government was aware of the challenges confronting the institution, adding that efforts were being made to address them.