Nigeria

Ondo polytechnic strike: Group intervenes, begs workers, seek salary bailout

The Rector of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo State, Mr Gani Ogundahunsi, has denied the report that the polytechnic was planning to retire staffers who had turned 60 years old in December 2019.

A social group of youths, under the aegis of Owo Integrity Forum, has called on Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to save the state polytechnic, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, from the academic set by granting the institution salary bailout.

Workers of the institution under the umbrella of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP) in a joint meeting on Thursday resolved to embark on an indefinite strike on Friday Over their backlog of unpaid salaries.

The group said only intervention from the governor could save the institution from the looming protracted industrial action which commenced today(Friday) due to unpaid 10 months salary arrears.

In a statement signed by the National Coordinator of the group, Mr Emmanuel Ayodele, and made available to newsmen in Akure, the state capital on Friday, the group noted that the bailout would ensure academic stability and a conducive environment in the polytechnic community.

According to the statement, “We, therefore, appeal to our amiable Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, to urgently wade into the strike issue over unpaid 10 months salaries at the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo.

“It is our belief that the Governor should, without further delay, approve special fund like salary bailout for the institution. We know the situation is not peculiar to RUGIPO alone. We know the Ondo state government, the Governing Council and the management of the school are trying their best to meet workers’ demands, but it is only necessary at this time for the state government to grant bailout for salary payment.

“The workers can not be going to work on a daily basis on empty stomach and they also need to feed their families, but we want to appeal to them to give the state government time to address the salary arrears that is pre-dated the present administration.

“We want to commend the courage of the workers in showing understanding for the period of time but we wish to urge them to further exercise patience to enable the state Governor and the management to come up with strategies of defraying the salary arrears.

“We are all aware of the giant strides in putting in place modern infrastructure on the RUGIPO campus in recent years to change the narrative of shortage facilities. We, therefore, commend the Governing Council under Barr Banji Alabi and the management under Rector, Gani Ogundahunsi.”

The group, therefore, charged the workers groups not to allow distractors to use them to destabilise the existing stable academic calendar currently enjoyed at the institution.

It stated that ”we are aware the institution’s management took some drastic economic steps to turn around some moribund facilities owned by the institution.

“The adoption of public-private partnership by the management and supervised by Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) Committee has saved a number of dilapidated facilities on the campus.”

Reacting to the industrial action, the Spokesman to the institution, Mr Samuel Ojo, told newsmen that “the Governing Council and Management of Rugipo has done so much to bring the institution to limelight with lots of infrastructural and human capital development

“The only pain is on the salary arrears which the authority of the institution is addressing with all sincere efforts.
It needs to be mentioned that of recent, a bank loan was obtained to pay three months salary to all categories of workers within a week and the unpaid salary areas as leftovers from the erstwhile government before Arakunrin Akeredolu has been addressed by this government and Management.

“I think in my own view, patience is required to enable the sincere efforts of management to mature as a succour.”

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