Workers of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo (RUGIPO) Ondo State, have resolved to go on an indefinite strike over an alleged unpaid 11 months’ salary arrears by the management of the school.
The workers, made up of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) chapters of the school announced the strike in a joint communique issued on Thursday.
According to the communique, the workers said the strike became imperative because of the continued failure of the state government to address their demands.
They also condemned the suspension of the institution's chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and dismissal if its chairman, Ijawoye Rafiu.
The workers vowed to continue with the industrial action until their demands are met by the concerned authorities.
The communique read: “Arising from this congress, the Unions resolved as follows that: The Unions note that the entire workforce of the Institution can no longer endure the excruciating pains and anguish in which they have been subjected for ages. This is an invariable concomitant of eleven (11) months' salary arrears
"The Unions vehemently frown on three (3) years promotion arrears due to workers, but yet to be carried out. This consists of 2019, 2020 and 2021 promotions. This is grossly demoralizing.
"It should be noted also that the 2018 promotion recently done in March 2021 by Management attracts no financial benefits up till now.
"The Unions frown on the negligent attitude of Management for not remitting the Bank loan repayment and Cooperative Societies' deductions from staff to the appropriate quarters. These monies have been deducted from workers' salaries years ago. Worse still, the capitalisation of interest of mere N15m on this Bank loan has been capitalised to a whopping sum of N 188m. This is too alarming.
"The Unions also note that composition of the Council is still incomplete as CONGREGATION was not observed, which means that the Council is not inclusive of any member(s) of staff as the representatives of the workforce. This is discordant with Polytechnic Acts.
"The Unions berate the dismissal of Comrade Ijawoye Rafiu and the suspension of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and pray to Management to settle out of court and reinstate the ousted Chairman of the Union as well as the Union itself.
"The Unions give zero tolerance to intimidation, witch-hunt and victimisation of workers, especially the Union leaders. This is a trend that should stop.
"The Unions urge the Management and Council to heed the court judgment on the demotion of staff and stop every process of appealing the verdict, as this will further engender industrial harmony.
"It is not unworthy of note that any judgment dispensed by the National Industrial Court is not appealable, in as much it does not affect Fundamental Human Rights of the appellant, as advised by the Commissioner for Justice and Anthony General of the State
"The Unions passionately plead with the Visitor of the Institution, our amiable Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu Aketi (SAN) to consider the peculiarities of this Institution and increase the SUBVENTION due to the Institution, such that can reasonably cover monthly salaries.
"The unions also humbly beseech Mr Governor to give the institution special intervention funds to meet the above-mentioned demands of the Unions towards repositioning the Institution to an enviable height.
"It is very disheartening that, despite the unremitting efforts of these eminent people to ensure that workers' welfare is impeccably protected, all these aforesaid salient issues keep lingering up till now. This actually necessitated this strike action, as workers cannot keep working in hunger, depression, despair, desolation and deteriorating health conditions.”