Staff at the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, have embarked on an indefinite over the non-payment of the N1.8m allegedly owed academic and non-academic unions by the management of the institution.
The affected unions are the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics and the Non-academic Staff Union of Polytechnics.
The aggrieved workers, who accused the management of the institution of failing to enrol them on the Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure 15 migration, grounded academic and administrative activities as they marched through the school to press home their demands.
The chapter Chairman of ASUP, Justin Momodu, accused the management of not negotiating with the workers and vowed that the strike would continue until the demands were addressed.
Momodu said, “We are on indefinite strike because the polytechnic management has refused to negotiate with us. We have resolved that we would not return to the classrooms until all our demands are met. ”
His SSANIP counterpart, Godwin Ikhide, lamented that workers were being paid from the welfare savings and union dues, which were deducted from their salaries.
Ikhide, however, noted that the union could no longer access loans from its savings due to the huge amounts already borrowed from its account by the school management.
But the Public Relations Office of the institution, Mustapha Oshiobugie, said that the polytechnic could no longer fund the migration of salaries.
Oshiobugie explained that the management had been using its internally generated revenue to fund the salaries of workers.
He also added that it could no longer sustain the process due to the non-approval by the Federal Government to offset the fund.
He explained, “(The) management has nothing against CONTISS 15 migration; the problem is that migration is not approved by the Salaries and Wages Commission. And because there is no approval for that migration, salaries are not funded by the Federal Government.
“What has been going on is that the school has been using internally generated resources to pay the salaries. By November last year, it was clear that the situation can no longer continue.
“So we put the union on notice that by January, if government is not funding, it (management) will have no option than to stop or suspend the payment?”
Oshiobugie also disclosed that a ministerial directive had been issued to all polytechnics affected by similar challenges to suspend further payment until the verification committee set up by the Federal Government came up with its recommendation on the said salary structure.
The spokesman added, “When you now say the school is owing you N1.8bn. How was that money you are talking about was used to pay their salaries on an agreement between the two sides.
“They are now demanding N1.8bn; it is like you are eating your cake and wanting it at the same time.
“If management must pay back this money, CONTISS 15 Migration funding will have to stop and, indeed, it has stop from this month.”
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