New Telegraph

Protests Rock Ondo Varsity Over Wage Award

The University workers of the Ondo State-owned Adekunle Ajasin Universit Akungba Akoko (AAUA) have grounded academic activities of the institution over the failure of the state government to implement the #35,000 palliative wage award approved to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal.

The leadership of the Joint Action Committee, comprised of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), said the palliative had not been received by the staff of the University since its payment began in Ondo State in November 2023.

The associations said the protest was staged to appeal to the state government to grant them the payment as other state workers have been receiving theirs except staff of the tertiary institutions in the State.

The Chairman of the Joint Action Committee Tayo Ogungbeni,
in a notice sent to all branch Chairmen, after the leadership of JAC had met virtually, said “Congress should be held, and the decision to embark on protest be communicated to various management”

Speaking during the protest, Ogungbeni, said the unions demanded to appeal to the state government not to deny them their rights to the payment of the wage award agreed upon by the federal and state governments in collaboration with labour unions for all workers in Nigeria.

Ogungbeni said all workers in the State had been receiving the payment except tertiary institutions in the State in which Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko was also left out

His words “We have started this protest since Tuesday all over the State tertiary institutions in Ondo State, they did in Olusegun Agagu University in Okitipupa, University of Medical Sciences in Ondo city, And Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, we do not want our rights to be taken for granted.

“The federal government announced a palliative wage award of #35,000 for all workers in Nigeria, we are part of the general workforce, why is Ondo State excluding us?  why are they saying we are not qualified for this palliative payment?, we are asking for that money now, we know our governor wants our welfare, because everyone goes to the same market, we also pay for the same fuel Price, what we asked for is our right”.

“The state government needs to increase the subvention giving to the university (AAUA), there should be an immediate opening of the University main gate, payment of the entitlement of all re-absorbed staff, payments of retirement benefits to our retired staff”.

“The state government should include us in the palliative payment, we see the nonpayment as cheating, we are part of Ondo State workers.

“The information we are hearing on why they are not paying us is that they claimed that the tertiary institutions are autonomous, but talking about autonomy, there is no total autonomy when it comes to Universities, the federal Universities are paid, we used the same payment method, I see no reason why we should not be paid, the subvention we do receive is not up to what can cater for our needs”.

“Before now, we have written to the Governor (Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa) when he was acting about this development, we appealed to him to intervene, we did fix an appointment with him to table our agitations, but to no avail, the protest was to call his attention to this.”

Also, he highlighted other demands of the association which he said it is crucial to the university at the moment.

Comrade Ekundayo Abiodun, Chairman of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), noted that the association would not stop until their demands were attended to.

According to him, “Immediately after the removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria, the Federal government declared this palliative wage because the effect of this removal was too much on Nigerians, those in the federal institutions has received theirs, staffs in the Ondo civil service has also been paid two months, but the state-owned institution in Ondo State has not received any, we are left out which is unfair.

“I would like to inform you that this is stage one of the action, we are going to go further concerning this issue if the government seems not to listen, then we go to the second stage of the action.”

Addressing the protecting workers, the university’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Adebisi Adaramola, said the University was aware of the development and they are making all efforts to ensure the state government pays, appealing to the union to be patient with the authorities.

His words “We understand that some workers have been paid in Ondo State, but the Staff of the University have not received theirs, we had tried to convince them that the state government has not sent this money, and we are making all necessary efforts to contact government.”

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