Academic and commercial activities at the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) have been brought to a halt following the indefinite strike embarked upon by non-teaching staff in the universities.
The workers are in the main, protesting the federal government’s handling of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) sharing formula of the N40 billion earned academic allowances and non-payment of arrears of the new minimum wage.
While the entry gates to the university’s Senate Building and other key facilities were under lock and key, a few of the places our correspondent could gain access to were abandoned to dirt and unclean following the downing of tools by cleaners.
Also, various units in the university, such as exams and records, bursary, registry, estate and works, Library, ICT, physical planning, FUTO staff schools and even part of the security unit were locked.
The monitoring team of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), of FUTO led by JAC and SSANU chairman, Comrade Uchenna Nwokeji described the compliance level as total.
He however regretted that the strike action would mean “our children going back home after nearly one year of staying at home as a result of Covid-19”.
Nwokeji said, “This strike is going well in FUTO. As you can see, the Senate Building is shut. FUTO is in support of this strike wholeheartedly. There is no water in the hostels because our people are not working.
“However, we are pained that this is going to affect our children again. We don’t want our children to remain at home. But we can’t help it because most of our union members have not been paid for months because of the IPPIS challenge.
“We plead with the federal government to have mercy and give our union our earned allowances, pay us minimum wage arrears and sort out the IPPIS challenge as well as fulfill the 2009 agreement.”