By Shina Abubakar
OSOGBO—THE Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, and the Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU, in the South West, yesterday, protested the non-inclusion of workers of the institution’s staff school on its payroll.
The protest, which was held inside the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, campus had SSANU and NASU members from other universities in the south-west in attendance to solidarise with OAU branch.
The protesters, who were also demanding the payment of 13-month outstanding salaries, took off from the campus gate leading to restriction of movement in and out of the campus and terminated at the Senate building.
The protesters bore placards with various inscriptions such as: Obey court order on Staff Schools, Staff school Teachers are daily dying of hunger, Staff School Teachers are not slaves, pay their 13 months’ salary arrears’.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the National Vice president of SSANU, Southwest, Comrade Alfred Jimoh, said: “We are protesting against the injustice meted out to staff school teachers in the two universities, OAU and University of Ibadan.
“The managements is disobeying court order on staff school, as well as nurturing plans to privatise the institution staff school.
“We have been on this since 2014. At a point the minister of labour took the issue to court for interpretation of the clause that the University shall see to the recurrent and current expenditures of the staff school where the University in the said judgement refers to the government. After the judgement was delivered in December 5, 2016, both University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University are yet to comply with the industrial court ruling. The vice chancellor of OAU is, instead planning to privatise the staff school which we will not allow.
“The UI said it was waiting for a circular from the government before complying while OAU are yet to comply and our workers are being owed 13months salaries. They are being paid half salaries and not paid as and when due. UI was also paying 75 percent which they last paid in March and they expected workers to teach their children who are pupils of the school.”
We were never a party to court ruling—OAU
In its reaction, the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olanrewaju, said the institution was never a party to the court ruling, adding that the defendants in the ruling were National Commission of Salaries and Wages and the Ministry of Education.
Olanrewaju said: “If you are not a party to a suit the judgement should not be of concern to you. Those involved in the case were Ministry of the education, National Commission for salaries and wages. OAU was not written in the judgment. What they should have done is to go to Abuja to protest. The management of the institution will only do whatever the ministry of education orders.”
On the issue of salary arrears, he said: “I am not aware the management is owing them. What I am aware of is the decision of the management which was in accordance with the directives of the ministry of education to pay them the equivalent of primary school teachers for them to be absorbed in the school payroll, but they rejected the offer.”