The Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Otto-Ijanikin, chapter of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), has protested against the non-implementation of the workers’ minimum wage for its members by the Lagos State Government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the protesters barricaded the two gates to the college at about 7.am. to prevent students and staff members from going in.
The Chairman of the local chapter of NASU, Mr Adesola Abubakar, said that it was unfortunate that the union members in the college had yet to join counterparts in the state to enjoy the minimum wage.
Abubakar therefore urged the state government to implement the minimum wage to all workers in tertiary institutions in the state.
He said: “What other Lagos state ministries and agencies are enjoying in terms of the minimum wage should be extended to workers in tertiary institutions in the state.
“It is no longer news that our minimum wage is being delayed, while other Lagos state ministries and agencies had been receiving since last year.
“We have written several letters to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his special adviser on education and other stakeholders but our request has not been granted.
“We realised that something good did not come out of the letters and meetings. So, we agreed that all the unions in tertiary institutions should embark on a joint industrial action.
“We joined the joint action today because we had our congress meeting yesterday and our members said we should join.”
Abubakar said they would return to work once the government met their demands.
Also, Mr Ige Ajayi, the institution’s Chairman, Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, said their action was to force the state government to pay their minimum wage.
“We are part of the agitation and demand for the payment of the minimum wage in all the tertiary institutions in the state.
“We urge the state government to pay us the minimum wage with the arrears at the end of the month,” Ajayi said.
He however advised the unions to exercise restraint and consider the interest of the students. He said: “We need to put in cognisance the interest of our learners, we are in the month of September and our students have not completed their first semester examination.
“We are not facing AOCOED management but the state government for the implementation of our minimum wage,” Ajayi said.
The President of the Students’ Union, David Alagbe, urged the state government to urgently attend to the unions’ demands.
“What the unions are fighting for is their right and the best way, after dialogue without response, should be industrial action.
“AOCOED students cannot fight the unions for locking the gate because they are fighting for their right,” he said.
The Provost of the institution, Prof. Bilikis Lafiaji-Okuneye, said the governor was sympathetic to the implementation of minimum wage to all tertiary institutions in the state.
Lafiaji-Okuneye said that government was willing to pay but there were underlining issues delaying the payment.
“One of the issues is the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country. We all know that Lagos has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
“Before the outbreak of the pandemic, we were told government would implement the minimum wage this year.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 came and affected the payment. Few weeks ago, government still indicated its willingness to pay.
“Our efforts from AOCOED’s management is that we are appealing to the union to be patient with government, so they can pay the minimum wage,” Lafiaji-Okuneye said.(NAN)