David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
Non-teaching staff members of the Anambra State- owned Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) have given the management till today, August 14 to meet their demands or face indefinite industrial action.
The workers, who are members of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and under the Joint Action Committee of Trade Unions (JAC), had earlier issued several notices of industrial action.
They claimed that the university owes them over N4.6 billion.
Issuing the August 14 deadline in the JAC-COOU Bulletin No.2, the unions said they have fully notified the governing council and the university management that they are prepared to go on strike if their demands are not met on the said date.
In the bulletin jointly signed by the JAC Chairman, NAAT-COO, A.C Okeke, Chairman; NASU-COOU, F.O Nwaibe and Chairman, SSANU-COOU, Oddih Obiora, the unions said they have exhausted all avenues possible to avoid an industrial action, but the management remained unappreciative.
“As we prepare to close down the university, the staff unions in the university have pleaded, dialogued and signed various agreements/MoUs with the governing council. We have also brought all our demands to the university management and governing council of the university and frowned at the various issues.
“Remember that in our usual way of ‘understanding the financial predicaments’ of the university, we shelved our intended strike earlier scheduled for May 15, 2019 (as in Bulletin No.1).
“This was to pave way for proper negotiations with the university authorities, but nothing has come out from those negotiations as our conditions of service keep worsening.
“While the university management is maintaining its stance of ‘there is no money,’ council is maintaining its snail-speed and foot-dragging approach to our demands.”
The N4.6 billion owed it the unions is said to cover monetization arrears, promotion arrears, CONTISS and CONUASS arrears, earned allowance arrears, non-remittance of contributory pension fund deductions/non-payment of employers (10 per cent) portion of the fund, PAYE deductions and remittance, non-remittance of National Housing Fund contributions and non-remittance of union dues/levies after deduction.