…. We have addressed 75% of their demands, strike unnecessary – School Management
By Femi Bolaji
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Taraba State University chapter, Tuesday declared an indefinite strike after a meeting of the association.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the meeting, the Institution’s ASUU Chairman, Dr. Samuel Shikaa, said the association resolved to embark on the industrial action to demand compliance to an agreement the state government and the university management signed with the association.
He listed some of their demand to include, the commencement of their Contributory pension scheme, prompt payment of their Earned Academic Allowance, EAA, among others.
According to him, “Taraba state university has no pension arrangement and you can quote me anywhere.
“Families of some of our colleagues that have died only received paltry sum for burial rites which to us is not a terminal benefit.
“And to some others who left this institution to other universities, they have nothing to benefit.
“Our members are ready to commence deduction from their take home for the contributory pension scheme but we also want government commitment that their percentage of the contribution would be honored.
“On EAA, the allowance for excess workload since 2013 has accumulated and has not been paid.”
Responding, the Vice-Chancellor of Taraba state University, Prof. Vincent Tenebe said 75% of the demand by members of ASUU has been met.
He explained that the strike was unnecessary and urged members of the union to call off their demonstration for the sake of the students, while they continue negotiation with the management of the institution.
He also dismissed claims that the government was not ready to comply with its part payment to the contributory pension scheme.
He said, “ever since the MoU and MoA were signed with ASUU the management and government went into action and I can tell you that 75% of their demand has been met.
“ASUU has been demanding for the commencement of the contributory pension scheme and when I came in as Vice-Chancellor in 2017, they brought up this demand which was part of the MoA.
“I went further to present a memo to the governing council of this university in 2018, and the council acting as an independent body and regarded as the sole employer of labor in universities by government regulation approved that we can start that contributory pension scheme.
“This means that every staff that keys into this pension scheme will contribute 7.5% of his basic salary while the government will also contribute 7.5% which would be sent to the administrator of a pension for saving till when the staff retires.
“After that approval, I informed all the members of staff of this university through a circular that the governing council has approved the commencement of the pension scheme and we went further to appoint a desk officer from the registry for the pension scheme.
“We also invited some pension administrators who came to sensitize and also did some marketing of their companies to staff for them to fill their forms and submit to the school management for the commencement of the pensions scheme.
“Since 2018, they have failed to produce their pension administrators and their account numbers for management to utilize. And in fact, this university wanted to be used as a role model for other institutions in this state that this is doable.
“The ASUU of this university insisted that they will only patronize the pension scheme of ASUU at the national level and we have no problem with that.
“They have failed to submit their pension administrators for this scheme to commence, and are now stating this as one of the reasons for their strike.
“Also it is not true that the government has not been paying EAA. From 2014 to 2018 about N150 million have been paid.
“To reduce accumulated debt in EAA, I approached the governing council also in 2018 that they should allow earned allowances to be paid on monthly basis.
“Since 2018, responsibility and hazard allowance is being paid with the salary of those that deserve it.
“The only component that is not paid is the excess workload, which is supposed to be calculated at the end of the semester.”