The Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday boycotted classes in protest against the Federal Government’s insistence on its no-work-no-pay policy. Chairman Olayinka Awopetu said the government was wrong to have paid lecturers half salaries in October after they suspended their eight-month strike over the refusal of the government to honour its agreements with the union. Speaking during their emergency congress, Awopetu said the protest was to let everyone know that ASUU in general and FUTA branch, in particular, has condemned the casualization of academics and the criminalization of the strike.
The chairman said: “We didn’t go on strike because we wanted to go on strike but because the government failed to do its own part, so we can’t be punished for that. The way forward for the Federal Government to do needful, pay us our money, the job they said we didn’t do is the job we are doing now and we will still continue to do because we discard our annual leaves so that it is made continuous, so it is not possible for the government to say we aren’t working. “If a doctor should go on strike a patient will die, when they come back, will they wake that patient up? Our students have continued from where we stopped in February and they are saying we’ve not worked.
All these things are diversionary because the major thing is the government’s refusal to fulfil the agreement that we signed in 2009, that was why we went on strike and we are still on strike because we suspended it because of the court directive and the court cases have started and we shall be hearing more in the coming weeks and months. “They are owing us seven and half months’ salary.
Today is a lecture-free and exam-free day, we can’t be in this Congress and protests and classes will be going on. If you go on legal strike, you shouldn’t be punished for it but we are being punished by withholding our salaries. Then paying prorata means we are casual workers.”