The academic and non academic staff unions at the six Oyo State government-owned tertiary institutions have concluded plans to occupy the office of the state governor Senator Abiola Ajimobi and the state secretariat over unpaid 15 months’ salary arrears.
The chairman, Joint Action Committee (JAC), Prince Adeniyi Afees disclosed this when he led members of other five trade unions in the six institutions to the palace of the Alaafin to seek his support and intervention on the matter, adding that about 20,000 members would invade government seat of power.
But the traditional ruler, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi appealed to them to shelve the plan and allow him to intervene.
It would recall that the six government owned tertiary institutions including, 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 have been on indefinite strike since November 2 over issues bothering on non- payment of salary arrears and reduction of subvention to the institutions to 25 percent.
The JAC chairman said the workers decided to explore the option of the Alaafin to call his attention to the plight, agony and trauma of the workers after all efforts to secure understanding of the government failed to yield result.
He accused the state government of not being sincere with the workers on resolving the issue, pointing out that the committee the government promised to set up was not set up coupled with the failure of the members of the Oyo State House of Assembly to resolve the issue before they embarked on 2017 recess as promised at a meeting with the JAC leadership.
He reiterated the workers vow not to call off the strike until the government reverts to a hundred percent subvention to the institutions, adding that the workers will resist every attempt by the government to privatise and commercialise tertiary education in the state.
“We, the workers of the six state-owned tertiary institutions are on strike because we are being owned over 15-month salary arrears cumulatively by the Oyo State government as a result of the illegal reduction of the personnel subvention to 25 percent and fractional salary payment since January 2016.
“Today, we are paying homage to His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, to intimate him with the pain and agony the affected workers are passing through as a result of the unpaid 15-month salary arrears, in order for His Imperial Majesty to intervene and prevail on His Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajimobi to restore 100 percent personnel subvention to the state-owned tertiary institutions and as well, clear the backlog of the salary arrears.
“We noted with dismay that all organs of government in Oyo state had not shown enough commitment to resolving the issue viz: none inauguration of the proposed negotiation committee of Labour and government which was agreed upon at a meeting between the Secretary to State Government-led delegation and Nigerian Labour Congress Chairman led Labour delegation, and failure of the leadership of the Oyo state House of Assembly to resolve the issue before they embarked on the 2017 recess as promised at a meeting that JAC leadership held with the Speaker-led House of Assembly Committee on 28th, November, 2017.
“We, therefore affirmed that the lackadaisical attitude and insensitivity of Oyo state government to the plight of the traumatised workers of the six institutions and the future of over 55,000 students (which are now at home as a result of the two months old strike) are borne out of the fact that Oyo State government officials do not have children or relatives in these institutions,” he added.
While addressing the protesting workers, the Alaafin Oba Lamidi Adeyemi thanked them for being peaceful and orderly in their pursuit of their demand, noting that the workers have done him and the stool so much honour by bringing the matter to him for an amicable resolution.
He assured that he would take the matter to the government to appeal to him so that the workers can have course to celebrate and enjoy the yuletide, pleading with the workers not to go ahead with the proposed plan to occupy the government state secretariat pending the time he would mediate.
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