A group under the aegis of Owo Integrity Forum has appealed to the Ondo State Governor and Moderator of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo (RUGIPO), Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) to intervene in the crisis rocking the institution.
This is as members of nonacademic staff unions of the polytechnic have embarked on indefinite strike over 11-month outstanding salary arrears. The aggrieved Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP) and the NonAcademic Staff Union (NASU) lamented that they were owed December 2016, January 2017 and January to October 2021 salaries, saying that they had not been promoted for the past two years.
The Chairman of the polytechnic chapter of SSANIP, Chris Olowolade said the workers had no alternative but to embark on the strike following the alleged insensitive gesture of the management of the institution towards their plight. He said: “The management of this institution owed us a backlog of salary and apart from the 11 months’ salary arrears; we have three months promotion arrears.
The last promotion was done in 2018 and now we are in 2021. But, barely a week into the strike, the management of the state-owned polytechnic has signed an agreement with the leaders of the unions to suspend their ongoing industrial action.
In a communique signed by the parties over the industrial dispute, it was agreed that the unions should exercise more patience on the issue of payment of arrears of salaries since the state government was already working on it.
The communique obtained by newsmen indicated that the Chairmen of the two unions, the Rector, Gani Ogundahunsi; the Chairman of Governing Council, Mr. Banji Alabi; Council’s member and wife of former state governor, Mrs. Olufunke Agagu; as well as the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Establishments and Training signed the agreement to end the strike action.
The communique reads in part: “That the unions should come up with a robust proposal on Internally Generated Revenue and submit the same to the Rector.
“That the union leaders should be part of the Internally Generated Revenue Committee of the institution; that the unions should exercise more patience on the issue of payment of arrears of salaries since the state government is already working on it; that every appointment in the polytechnic should take cognisance of the need to put a round peg in a round hole for effective service delivery.
“That training and re-training of non-teaching staff should be given adequate attention; that ev ery appointment made should be in line with Scheme of Service and the Polytechnic Act; that 2019, 2020 and 2021 promotion arrears should be implemented without delay.
“That the strike should immediately be suspended since a team led by the Governing Council Chairman will meet Mr. Governor on Thursday, 28th October. 2021 to discuss the issues raised at the meeting, particularly payment at 11-month salary arrears owed the workforce of the institution. “And, that all resolutions reached will be communicated to the Congress by the union leaders.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the development when contacted, the polytechnic’s spokesman, Mr. Samuel Ojo said that “the governing council and management of the polytechnic had done so much to bring the institution to a limelight with massive infrastructural and human capital development.
He said: “The only pain is on the salary arrears which the authority of the institution is addressing with all sincere efforts.
It needs mentioning that recently a bank loan was obtained to pay three months’ salary to all categories of workers within a week and the unpaid salary arrears as left over from the erstwhile state government before Governor Akeredolu had been addressed by this administration and management.
“I think in my own view, patience is required to enable the sincere efforts of the management to mature and b