The Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) today protested and declared an indefinite strike to press home their demand for payment of salary arrears.
The protesters 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,” amongst others.
Addressing the media, the chairman of the union, Mr. Akinlawon Fasasi, said the workers embarked on the strike after dialogue with the management of the institutions failed to yield any positive result.
He said NASU demanded among other things the payment of arrears of the consolidated tertiary institution salary structure (CONTISS 15) migration to staff in the lower cadre.
“The union reasoned and agreed with the management then that when the polytechnic funding improves, the case would be re-opened.
“Fortunately, this year Governor 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.
Fasasi also said that investigations carried out into the institution’s account upon the request of the governing council when the management claimed that there was no funds, showed that the institution’s 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.
He therefore accused the school’s management of squandering the polytechnic’s money in the form of several allowances while ignoring the workers’ welfare.
Fasasi assured that the strike would be made effective and that the union would ensure that its members complied saying the administrative offices were already locked.
“Our members have also been directed to resume at the administrative block every morning to continue pressing home their demand 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 to the strike, the spokesman for the school, Mr. Olanrewaju Kuye, said the management was fully aware of the protest as well as the strike.
He said the striking workers were demanding for migration but that “there is nothing of such but rather, an alignment with staff salary.”
Kuye admitted that the arrears owed to the workers since 2009 had accumulated to N1.7 billion.
Kuye who said the money could not be paid in a recession however admitted that there had been an increase in the subvention to the school, but stated that the money demanded by the union “cannot be paid without approval, even if the funds were available.”
He said the polytechnic’s management met with the government on the issue and was directed to put their (workers’) demand in writing for inclusion in the 2017 budget.
“This is October and the rector had told all the unions at a town hall meeting to put their demand in writing. This will be forwarded to the state government as directed and will be implemented by January in the 2017 budget, ‘’ he said.
Nevertheless, Kuye appealed to the union to dialogue with the management saying “strike is not the solution.”