James Sowole in Akure
Workers of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Ondo State have raised the alarm that the university is owing them not less than 19 months salaries, which had left many of them in precarious situation.
The salary arrears were part of the concern raised by the workers during a protest by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising unions of non-teaching staff in the university.
The protest by FUTA JAC was in compliance with the directive of the national body of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and Non- Academic Staff Union (NASU), that they should show their grievances over marginalisation of non-teaching staff in Nigerian universities.
During the protest, workers carried placards of various inscriptions condemning the preferential treatment being given to members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the detriment of other workers in the university system.
Some of the placards read: ‘Give us our Share of N30bn Earned Allowance’; ‘FG Should Pay our Staff School Teachers 19 Months’ Salary’; ‘No to Discrimination among Workers in Universities’; ‘Staff School Teachers are Dying of Hunger’, among others.
Addressing journalists during the protest, the Chairman of FUTA branch of JAC, Mr. Dele Durojaye said it is high time the federal government did the needful to avoid total paralysis of the university system.
Durojaye accompanied by the Chairman of NASU, Mr. Aladerotohun Adebayo, said it was disheartening that the federal government gave only 20 per cent of the N30 billion released for earned allowance to non-teaching unions, while ASUU alone got 80 per cent.
“This is lopsided, unfair and too discriminatory and wicked act because it was clear that the federal government approved the maltreatment of non-teaching staff by vice-chancellors.”
The JAC chairman also called on the government to respect the National Industrial Court’s judgment of December 5, 2016, which declared that workers of staff primary schools are bona fide staff of universities.
He said it was surprising that the government did not respect the judgment of the court, regretting that the staff school teachers are being owed 19 months in FUTA, while some universities had been paying percentages of salaries to their own teachers.
Durojaye therefore called on the federal government to correct the anomalies as the JAC has decided to hold zonal protests, which would be followed by the national protest in Abuja, which would be a prelude to nationwide strike by all non-teaching staff if the federal government fails to act.