Workers’ unions in various Lagos State-owned tertiary institutions yesterday protested nonpayment of their 15-month salary increment arrears and the continuedimplementation of N30,000 minimum wage by thestategovernment.
The workers, under various staff unions, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities(SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, theSeniorStaff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP), and the College of Education Academic Staff Union(COEASU), amongothers, protested under the Joint Action Committee (JAC) on labour matters and backed b y the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
The affected institutions are the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo; Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu; Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Otto\Ijanikin and Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MACOPED), Epe.
The protest came on the heels of the resumption of all state-owned tertiary institutions yesterday after over six months of closure following the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease(COVID-19) pandemic in the country in February.
The state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had two weeks ago, directed that all state-owned tertiary institutions should resume on September 14 for academic activities in phases for some students, especially those in the terminal classes, while all other students are to be considered subsequently.
The workers, who are demanding immediate payment of their 15-month salary increment arrears and the continued implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage by the state government, said they could no longer accept nonpayment of minimum wage to them, more so, that their counterparts in other establishments and ministries in the state apart from tertiary institutions were already enjoying the minimum wage.
The workers at LASU, who locked the main gates of the university, had gathered at the entrance gates of the university as early as 7am and prevented the returning students and other members of the university community, includingtheVice-Chancellor, Prof. ‘Lanre Fagbohun, from entering the campus.
But, in a swift reaction yesterday, the Special Adviser on Education to the Governor, Mr. Wahab Tokunbo, said each of the management of various schools was expected by the state government to be responsibleforthepaymentof the difference between the old salaries andthe new salaries of theirrespectiveworkers.
In a statement, titled: “Re: Protesting LASU Workers, Response from the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Lagos State,” signed by him and which was made available to journalists in Lagos, he said they should have set aside the equivalent of the amount for the purpose from their monthly subvention from the state government and also from their internally generated revenues.