The one-week ultimatum given the Delta State government to pay arrears of promotion exercises carried out in 2014 and 2015 as well as May and June salaries of workers of the Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, expires today (Thursday July 7, 2016).
Staff unions of the university, comprising the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU-DELSU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU-DELSU), the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU-DELSU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT-DELSU), had held a press conference on June 29 in Abraka, calling on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to stop the segregation of DELSU workers and pay their May and June salaries as well as their 2014 and 2015 promotion arrears.
The chairman of ASUU, Professor Abel Diakparomre, who spoke on behalf of leaders of the other unions, said the situation among workers was unacceptable, wondering why workers at the institution were singled out for “deliberate financial strangulation” while other workers in the state are being paid regularly.
He bemoaned the pathetic state and gloom the institution had been thrown into owing to governments’s refusal to pay the May and June salaries as well as the promotion arrears.
The ASUU chairman had warned that if the backlog of salaries and the promotion arrears were not paid within a week, academic activities, especially the examination, which is supposed to commence this week, might be affected, as the unions would resort to “Plan B.”
The Plan B, according to the workers, could include boycott of duty posts, since they have run out of money to transport themselves to work and discharge other responsibilities.
Meanwhile, the state governor, Dr Okowa, had shortly after the unions’ statement, said the state was finding it difficult to pay salaries owing to a dip in the state’s allocation from the Federal Government and the activities of pipeline vandals in the state.
The unions, however, warned against possible brain drain, warning that if the situation persisted, lecturers could be lured outside the country to seek greener pastures.
“This ugly trend may lead to brain drain as many lecturers and other workers have threatened to relocate to universities abroad in search of conducive working conditions.
“Today, many (workers) earn less than their current status as professors because those who have been promoted since 2014 still receive salaries of lower ranks that they were.
“Arrears are being owed from 2014 till date,” he noted.