By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
The Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), on Thursday staged a protest and declared an indefinite strike to press home some demands.
The Chairman of the Union, Mr Akinlawon Fasasi, while declaring the strike, said it was total, comprehensive and indefinite.
Fasasi said the union decided to embark on strike after several dialogue with the management for its demands to be met failed.
He said the union among other demands, was requesting for the payment of arrears of the Consolidated Tertiary Institution Salary Structure (CONTISS 15) migration to staff at the lower cadre.
Blackface News reports that the union members during the protest gathered at the Administrative block, housing the institution’s Rector and other principal officers.
They chanted solidarity songs and carried placards with inscriptions such as: “ Pay CONTISS 15 migration and arrears to the lower cadre or De-migrate existing beneficiaries; “No to management threat to sack’’ .
Also, “No to fabrication letters and directives from State Government, Alausa, against staff welfare by management, among others.
Fasasi said the CONTISS 15 migration is a scheme of service that had been implemented for staff on the upper cadre from level 13 and above since 2004.
He said that letter for implementation of the scheme for staff on the lower cadre staff was effective 2009 but the management had pleaded with the union that there was no available fund to pay the staff.
“The union reasoned and agreed with the management then that when the Polytechnic funding improves, the case would be re-opened.
“Fortunately, this year Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode increased the subvention to the institution from N153million monthly to N 210 million, so we decided to re-open the case and demand for our pending entitlements.
“Unfortunately, the management rather than paying the workers their dues, is saying that the N57million increase on the subvention by the State Government was not for staff welfare, ‘’ he said.
The Chairman said the union was aware that the cardinal objective of the Government increment on the subvention was for improved staff welfare.
He said an investigation into the Polytechnic account, as requested by the Governing Council when the management claimed there was no money showed that the institution Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) had increased.
“The institution is so rich with a sum of over N1.8 billion while the total amount of the migration is just N20 million monthly, as the increment for some the staff on level 1 to 12 is between N3,000 and N20,000, ‘’ he said.
Fasasi accused the management of spending the Polytechnic money on themselves by enjoying several allowances, while the welfare of the junior staff was neglected.
He said the union would ensure the strike was effective and its members fully comply, as already all administrative offices were under lock and key.
“Our members have also been directed to resume at the Administrative block every morning to continue pressing home their demands even if it takes a year to be implemented.
“The Polytechnic will continually be in a state of unrest until our demands are met, since they do not value our peace, they will also not know peace, ‘’ he said.
Reacting, the Polytechnic, Head of Public Relations Unit, Mr Olanrewaju Kuye, said the management was already aware of the protest and the strike.
Kuye said kudos to the Lagos State Government and the Polytechnic when it comes to staff welfare but the unions could not do without agitating.
He said the union in its letter to the management was demanding for migration but in actual sense, there is nothing of such but rather it is an alignment with staff salary.
The institution’s spokesman said though the Polytechnic subvention had just been increased, no authority can just pay what the unions are demanding for without an approval.
“Even if we have the funds, which we do not even have, ‘’ he said.
According to him, the management had met the government on the issue and they directed through the budgetary affairs unit that the demands should be put in writing to be embedded in the 2017 budget.
“This is October and the Rector had told all the unions at a town hall meeting to put their demands in writing .
“These are to be forwarded to the state government as directed, and would be implemented by January in the 2017 budget, ‘’ he said.
Kuye said despite the current recession in the country, the government had been magnanimous enough to accept to include the payment in the 2017 budget.
He said the claim of the arrears since 2009 had accumulated to about N1.7billion and such amount could not be paid in this time of recession.
According to him, that is why the management advised that the union should concentrate on the current payment, rather than the arrears, not that they should forfeit the arrears.
Kuye appealed to the unions to go back to round table with the management, as strike was not a solution.
“They should see reasons with the management and bring forth the letter as directed by the government, so that it can be included in the 2017 budget, as compilation was already ongoing, ‘’ he said