Ekiti varsity workers down tools over salaries, subventions

Workers in Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado Ekiti, on Monday, began an industrial action which they said was as a result of their unpaid salaries, allowances and subventions to the school.

The action paralysed academic and administrative activities in the institution as the various staff unions protested against what they said was “non-payment of six-month subventions, salary arrears as well as cooperative deductions among others.”

The industrial action has put spanner in the works for the EKSU students, who were billed to commence their second semester examinations on Monday.

The angry workers prevented vehicular and human movement in and out of the institution as they ensured that its main gates were locked.

Some of the lecturers in the institution said they were surprised at the turn of events as, according to them, they were not informed by their union leaders that there would be an industrial action.

Most of the workers as well as students were locked out of the institution and the students loitered about in front of the school gate.

The unions, who participated in the protest, included National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT); Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU); Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), among others.

The unions said contrary to an earlier impression in the state that the institution’s workers were paid regularly, they were being owed.

They, however, noted that recent investments in some ventures to shore up EKSU’s internally generated revenue made it capable of taking care of paying salary, emoluments and remunerations but that all was not well.

They said the management had only been able to pay 20 per cent of the workers’ salary arrears since March this year, saying the management had failed to live up to its responsibilities due to the failure of the state government to pay subventions since January this year.

Chairman of EKSU SSANU, Mr Kolapo Olatunde, said: “The state government released the universities’ subvention last in December last year, which means since January, we haven’t been getting the subventions. The government has erroneously believed that the management can take care of the full salary payment without the subvention. But the reality is that we have only been receiving 20 per cent of our salaries since January till date with deductions, and even the deductions were not remitted into the accounts of the cooperative societies on campus.

“We also heard that the state  government is not putting EKSU in the agenda of bailout from the Federal Government, giving the erroneous impression that all is well with us, whereas we have been suffering in silence.”

Chairman of NAAT, Mr Awogbemi Omobola, blamed the non-payment of the staff’s full salary on what he said was the exhaustion of its available resources to pay net salaries of workers.

He said: “The institution has even been struggling to augment the payment of 20 per cent of salary with N250 million monthly from the IGR. We have remained patient with the management because it has been trying, but with this protest, we want to tell Ekiti and the world that they should not allow the institution to collapse as this is the only asset the state has.”

Mr Tope Akanmu, the institution’s NASU chairman, who itemised their demands, urged the government to resume the payment of monthly subvention to the institution and also include it in the bailout scheme from the Federal Government.

He lamented that despite series of letters written to the state government prior to the last convocation in June, nothing has been done to alleviate the suffering of the institution’s staff,” he said.