BY MELVIN UCHE, MAIDUGURI –
Lecturers of the Borno State-owned Ramat Polytechnic on Monday embarked on indefinite strike over unpaid salaries and unresolved retirement benefits rocking the institution in the last one year.
Also, the striking lecturers are demanding government’s approval of academic staff retirement at age 65 years and non-academic staff at 60 years or 35 years of meritorious service as obtained in other institutions across the country.
Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Borno State chapter, Comrade Baba Shuwa disclosed this to newsmen at the school campus in Maiduguri, saying that the Union has been quite understanding even in the face of provocative stance by the school authorities.
Shuwa said the decision to embark on the indefinite strike was informed by government’s nonchalant attitude to their earlier demands, adding that the action has the backing of all stakeholders, especially the academic and non-academic staff of the school, including the Senior Staff Association of the institution.
According to him, other contentious issues include outstanding salaries of about 10 months for both academic and non academic staff and the non-capturing of many staff by the biometric data exercise.
He said most disappointing and unfortunate is the authorities’ refusal to pay outstanding salaries arrears due to staff already verified and cleared by the biometric data capturing exercise as well as the stopped of salaries of yet-to-be verified workers in the school for almost one year going
“All these are happening without any justification and explanation from anybody and the authority does not seem to be bordered about it. Sadly, the families of these staff, who are our members, are either dying, sick or starved due to food nor resources to get treated at the hospitals”, Shuwa said.
He said “despite that the Unions had earlier embarked on a warning strike before the technical committee headed by Bukar Adamu Biu was constituted to negotiate with them, it is regrettable that up till date, no White paper has been produced from the sittings or negotiations.
On likely effects of their action on the forthcoming students’ examinations, Shuwa stated that: “The unions are aware that most students are to commence their semester exams on Monday, May 8, 2017 with a few others having started their practical last week, but we have to go on strike finally and indefinitely to make the government address our problems.”
“And we are not returning to work until the state Government meets our demands or let us know where we stand. We have been patient enough and we can no longer endure”, the Union chairman told Forefront
Some students, who spoke to Forefront expressed their displeasure with the situation and urged the state government to urgently intervene so they can return to school and continue with their exams and lectures.
Others also appealed to government that as a matter of importance, engage the Unions and address the staff problems in the overall interest of peace, unity and development of the state.