UI workers ‘pepper’ new VC with strikes

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 17 April 2017 | 1,618 times

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•UI Vice Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka.

In what appears to be an unusual development in the University of Ibadan (UI), the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) of the institution has embarked on industrial action for the third time in the less than a year and six months that incumbent Vice Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, has been in office. The workers, who launched the latest strike on Monday, March 13, are agitating for the full payment of their salaries as the administration has streamlined them to usual payment of half salaries since 2016.

News Express recalls that few months into the administration of Olayinka, who assumed office on December 1, 2015, the union embarked on a warning strike from Friday, July 29, to Friday, August 12, in protest against shortfall in salary payment and the ownership of Staff School.

However, the workers were placated and academic activities resumed on Monday, August 15, as students resumed for the second semester of the 2015/2016 session.

At that time, the VC assured workers and students that he would always explore lawful means to better their welfare.

On Tuesday, May 31, 2016 while speaking to the press on his six-month in office, Olayinka had admitted that there were few challenges that have been holding back the university.

He stated that “having spent 39 years in the university, both as student and staff, some issues that were currently confronting the institution were perennial problems,” noting that the economic situation made the crises worse than ever.

But on the August 2, 2016, workers also went on strike as they demanded the full payment of salaries and arrears from January 2016.

It was, however, learnt that shortfalls in federal allocation to the school had resulted in incomplete payment of salaries to the staff of the institution since January till August 2016 that the workers went on strike.

Then the unions said they were forced to take the action owing to the failure of the university administration to yield to the demand of commencing “full payment of salaries” by July ending and arrears of shortfalls from December 2015 to June 2016 .

However, on August 10 when the VC was reacting to the strike action, he said that “the institution needs N1.8 billion annually for effective and efficient running.”

He equally disclosed that “the university receives about N150 million only from the Federal Government which was inadequate for effective management,” adding that “the overhead cost that we receive from the Federal Government in a year for running the institution can barely last us for a month. We need to pay for electricity, diesel, and Internet bandwidth, pay our external examiners, maintain buildings, fuel official vehicles, among other items of expenditure.”

And on Monday, March 13, the unions, under the umbrella of NASU, again, went on another indefinite strike to protest the illegal deduction of pensions and shortfall in the payment of salaries by the institution’s management and Federal Government, respectively.

There is no indication as to when the current industrial action, now into its second month, will end as the UI Management has yet to meet NASU’s demands.

Source: News Express

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