Academic and non academic activities at the Kogi State Polytechnic have been paralysed as the two unions in the institution on Friday, joined the ongoing strike called by the organised labour in the state.
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) at a joint press conference, said they could not stand aloof and pretend not to be affected by the developments in the state.
According to a statement signed by the chairman of ASUP, John Otaru, his secretary, Sunday Boluromi, the NASU chairman, Monica Salifu and the secretary, Matthew Oseya, the members of the unions decided to delay the commencement of the strike to allow the students finish their examinations which they had already started before the organised labour declared the industrial action.
Addressing newsmen on behalf of the unions, Otaru said the unions were aware that government had collected three months statutory allocations, three months Value Added Tax (VAT), Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and another N20 billion bailout fund before the recent payment of arrears of four months salary to members.
They however, expressed concern over the purported SMS from Zenith Bank directing the workers to open “unsolicited salary accounts” with the bank, condemning the move, which they described as assault on their members’ psyche, integrity and privacies.
Otaru said, “Wemare worried by the recent Zenith Bank sponsored SMS notification to our members that it had opened unsolicited bank account for each of them. We are also worried by the follow-up regularisation forms which the same Zenith Bank brought to our institution for distribution to members.
“In our considered opinion, these unilateral actions by Zenith Bank constitute a massive contravention of our members’ fundamental right to freedom of choice and privacies, just as it is a violation of the article of faith between our members and their respective banks. We therefore condemn in strong terms the unwarranted assault by Zenith Bank on our members’ psyche, integrity and privacies.
“We are perturbed by the unusual, conspiratorial silence from the state government on the audacity of Zenith Bank to over-reach government’s employees. We are compelled to believe that though there is yet to be seen or received a circular from government which authorised Zenith Bank to issue bank accounts to our members, the recent coercion of teachers, local government workers, state civil servants into assessing their salaries through unsolicited accounts opened for them is a clear pointer that the Kogi state government has embarked on the path of stripping her workers of their rights of choice and privacies on wage related issues”.
The unions said they were disheartening by the unfriendly and unfair banking environment prevalent in the state because of government’s unusual romance with the two banks, a development said to have compelled other banks to shut down their activities.
They therefore demanded that government should pay the two months salary arrears into each member’s existing salary account, warning the management of the bank to stop the “unethical and illegal drive for