By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
The Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprised of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Oyo State, has appealed to all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the two owner-state governments of Oyo and Osun to face the reality by releasing adequate funds to the institution not to jeopardise the future of its over 30,000 students and staff.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the JAC and SSANU, Comrade Abimbola Muraina Alesinloye, while addressing a press conference themed: “A cry before the sun rise,” held at the regional office of SSANU, University of Ibadan, on Friday.
Alesinloye who led other members of the executive of the unions was accompanied by the Chairmen of NAAT and NASU, Comrades Wasiu Olusoji Sanusi and Timothy Oladosu Tunwagun, respectively, revealed that the unions considered it mandatory to intimate the public of the current on-goings in the institution, just as he hinted that members of staff of the university were currently owed 10 months salaries.
The chairman then explained that the unions agreed to suspend the almost 16 months protracted strike in the institution, on October, 23, 2017, after series of interventions from all well-meaning people of Oyo and Osun States and Nigeria, in general.
He, then, lamented that the current situation might return the institution to the strike days.
Aleshinloye added that after the strike was suspended, the new governing council chaired by Professor Oladapo Afolabi met with the unions, leading to the signing of Memorandum of Action (MoA) which provided for template which eventually kick-started the academic year after the strike.
He then lamented the breach of the MoA agreed upon by the parties, adding that after the review of the situation issued a 14 day ultimatum which expired on Tuesday July 31, for the management to meet their demands.
According to him, the unions were expected to meet at a congress on Monday August 6 to review the current situation, after which the congress would make a stand.
Chronicling the situation, Alesinloye said: “our unions suspended the protracted industrial action of almost 16 months on October, 23, 2017, after series of interventions from all well-meaning people of Oyo and Osun states and Nigeria in general.
“The new Governing Council chaired by the former Head of Service of the Federation, Professor Oladapo Afolabi, had several meetings with the unions which resulted into writing of Memorandum of Action (MoA) jointly signed by the Chairman of Governing Council, the vice-chancellor, the Registrar and the three Chairmen of SSANU, NAAT and NASU on October 1, 2017.
“The Memorandum of Action (MoA), among other things provided a template for the university and the unions to come out of the industrial crisis that lasted almost a year and half. It was on this premise that the strike action was suspended on October 23, 2017 for the terms and conditions agreed upon in a MoA could be effected and for the university academic calendar to kick-start in earnest.”
“By the time the Unions convened the congress to review the industrial action which was later suspended, the staff salaries arrears were 13 months in arrears: August, September, October, November and December 2016 and March, April, May, June, July, August, September October 2017. The Governing Council approved the payment of three months of September and October 2017 with an advance salary of Nvember 2017.”
“Based on the payment of the three months salaries, the unions suspended their industrial action and academic and administrative acitivities resumed immediately. The unions took this decisioon relying on the CAVEAT in the memorandum of action dulre entered with the Governing Council and management that “in the event of any breach of this memorandum, the unions will be at liberty to take any legitimate action that it deem fit to redress the breach.”
This, Alesinloye said, did not take so much time before the governing council and the management began to breach the agreement, saying that: “In view of the precarious and degrading situation of members of our unions, and the non-challant attitudes of the governors and helpless positions of the governing council, our unions at a Joint Action Congress resolved and issued the management a 14 -day ultimatum within which our demands must be met and at the expiration of the ultimatum, the unions may not have other option that to embark on industrial action.
“The said 14 -day ultimatum expired on Tuesday, 31 July, 2018 while the JAC held its congress to evaluate the response of the management. The congress unanimously resolved to embark on three-day warning strike with effect from Wednesday, August 1, 2018, and to resume for review of their action on Monday, August 6, 2018.”