LAUTECH lecturers begin strike over five-month pay, others



•NASU threatens industrial action
•NUC to parley VCs over challenges in varsities

Citing non-payment of their arrears by owner-state governments of Oyo and Osun, lecturers of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho yesterday began an indefinite strike to register their pleasure.

The aggrieved workers, at a congress attended by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) chairman for the University of Ibadan (UI), Dr. Deji Omole and his University of Lagos (UNILAG) counterpart, Dr. Laja Odukoya, also demanded a review of condition of service and retirement plans as well as payment of pension, allowances and their five-month salary backlog.

The chapter ASUU chairman, Dr. Abiodun Olaniran, said the action followed the endorsement by the union’s national executive council (NEC) in the face of hardship the development was foisting on members.

The institution’s non-academic unions have been on industrial action since the past three months.

Olaniran, while addressing congress, insisted that the strike would not be suspended until the 23-month subvention owed the institution was fully paid. It was learnt that Oyo owes eight months while Osun was indebted to 15 months in unpaid subvention.

“This strike is inevitable but ‎the present state of affairs in the institution was created by chronic under-funding for which neither Oyo nor Osun State could be exonerated. ‎ It is painful we have to go this way. We are human beings and must be treated as such,” he remarked.

Also yesterday, the Non-Academic staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) threatened to embark on a nation-wide industrial strike if the balance of members’ salaries and benefits were not paid promptly.

Its national president, Chris Ani, who issued the threat yesterday in Abuja at the opening of the union’s NEC meeting, said the present industrial peace in the universities was under threat as a result of the non-payment of their entitlements.

“The issue of earned allowance for staff of universities, particularly NASU members, is still outstanding. Apart from the N30 billion that was released as part-payment of the arrears in 2014, nothing has happened again despite several meetings and negotiations on the issue.

“As a result of this, staff of universities who are owed earned allowances are seriously agitated and unhappy. Except government acts fast by releasing the needed funds for the payment of the arrears, it may be difficult to sustain the present industrial peace in our universities.”

Meanwhile, the National Universities Commission (NUC) is to meet with vice chancellors this week in a bid to pacify the workers.

Commenting on the non-implementation of the 2009 agreement, the commission’s Executive Secretary, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, who confirmed the proposed meeting, said the move was aimed at proffering solution to the myriad of challenges confronting the university system.

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