By Alfred Olufemi
The trade unions in Oyo State-owned tertiary institutions have given the state government a seven-day ultimatum to pay all outstanding arrears of the workers or they will resume their suspended industrial action on January 14.
The Joint Action Committee includes the Oyo State chapters of Non-academic staff union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) and the Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education, Nigeria (SSUCOEN).
PREMIUM TIMES reported several industrial actions embarked upon by various workers’ unions as regards low subventions given to the schools as well as unpaid arrears, which were suspended after the state promised to intervene.
The resolution to resume the strike was reached at a meeting of six institutions’ workers held in Saki last Friday.
The six institutions represented include; The Polytechnic, Ibadan; Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo; Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora; The Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa; The Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki; and College of Education, Lanlate.
“A seven (7) day ultimatum (from January 7 to 14, 2019) should be issued for the state government to pay all the arrears of between 3 and 18 months, failure of which ALL the workers in the six tertiary institutions will resume their suspended industrial action by 12:01pm of Monday, 14th January, 2019,” read the communique released at the end of the meeting and signed by the JAC chairman, Afees Adeniyi.
In October last year, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who promised to clear the backlog in due course, approved the payment of outstanding salaries to the state civil servants and teachers under the payroll of the state government.
The state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Toye Arulogun, said the payment approved by Mr Ajimobi would cover the salaries of September and October 2018 which were still outstanding at the time.
However, according to the unions, the government had refused to implement the governor’s directives.
“The Oyo state government had failed (with the release of September, October and November 2018 Salaries/Subventions) to implement the Governor’s directive (that was given at the October 24, 2018 meeting that was held with the Governing Councils and Managements of each of the Six Institutions) for the commencement of payment of backlog of arrears of salaries (3-18months) owed between January 2016 and October 2018 with the September, 2018 salary/ subventions,” the communique continued.
“The meeting observed that as at today Friday, January 4th, 2019 the personnel subventions of September, October, November and December 2018 had been released without any provision for funds for the payments of the owed backlog of arrears of salaries in contravention of the directive given by the Governor- His Excellency, Senator (Dr) Abiola Ajimobi that payments of the outstanding arrears should commence.”
The Committee also commended the Oyo state chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) for her efforts in ensuring that government implements the new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers.
“We equally recognize and appreciate Nigeria Labour Congress, Oyo state chapter for her support in ensuring that the accrued arrears of workers in the six tertiary institutions owned by Oyo state government are defrayed without any further delay.”
The Committee also directed all her members, who are affiliates of NLC, to join any actions embarked upon by the body’s Oyo state chapter, as regard the struggles for the actualization of national minimum wage and payment of three to 18 months accrued salary arrears of workers of the six tertiary institutions.