The academic and non-academic staff of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomosho are currently agitating for strike under ground over recent activities of the school management, Mouthpiece NGR has learnt.
The university students are certainly not expecting the institution to embark on strike anytime soon most especially after the ceding of LAUTECH to Oyo state. But with the ways things are going in the institution, the academic and non-academic staff might have to consider going on strike again to press home their demands.
LAUTECH which had been enmeshed in joint ownership crises over the years before mutual agreement of dissolution through the signing of a memorandum of agreement by the Executive Governors of Oyo and Osun states recently witnessed sanity and peace under a sole proprietor— Makinde led administration— after years of tribulation and anguish brought upon it by the past governors of the two owner states of Oyo and Osun and the then Chancellor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
However, as things appear now, the workers might engage in industrial action over the lack of respect for collective bargaining agreement with school management and Governing council’s failure to yield to their demands after several underground agitations by both ASUU and JAC executives.
Speaking with Mouthpiece NGR on Friday, an Academic staff who preferred to be anonymous said that ‘unrest and tension’ heighten when Ayodeji Omole led-council allegedly used the school IGR for the purchase of five new cars for some members of management each allegedly costing N35m despite outstanding 5-month salary arrears, earned academic allowance (EAA) among others.
According to him, workers in the school are being regularly paid their monthly salaries by the sole owner state of Oyo, Engr. Seyi Makinde. Likewise the 13 months outstanding salaries owed by previous visitors were also being paid as mid-monthly payments per month before the inauguration of Governing Council.
The staff noted that the 13 months outstanding salaries were cleared to 5months under Fisayo Ologunde led-management with the school Internally generated revenue (IGR) which include ODL fees, Undergraduates and post graduates fees, part-Time fees, etc.
He said when the expectation of the staff members were very high for the mid-payment of August month since they had exhausted their July pay which was remitted to them on the 19th July 2021 for the Sallah festival, the failure and disappointment came.
“The news and information are that the Acting VC, the Registrar in collusion with the Council members and its chairman approved the sum of three hundred million naira (N300m) for the purchase of very expensive and flashy cars for the university principal officers including the Council chairman at the expense of the comfort and right of their staff members.”
“Rather than bringing solace to the hearts of these befuddled staff, the Council members are now being unnecessarily extravagant and unknowingly spendthrift. What they ought to have done was to have settled the whole salaries owed first in one installment and then do their blissful purchase later”, he quipped.
Recall that Mouthpiece NGR had last month August 12th reported that SSANU at its congress at MKO lecture theatre issued management 21-day ultimatum to pay arrears of salary of 5months, payment of cooperative deduction of 9months, promotional arrears since 2012 to date as well as payment of EAA and implementation of minimum wage.
The non-academic union members have also recently been raising their voices on the need for the governing council to roll out modality of payment for their 5 demands while also asking the council to properly direct a letter addressed to its chairman at the 141 meeting of the Council to the SSANU for their response.
However, the perceived body language of the council towards the staff has been a great concern as school management is already planning to use IGR for medicine accreditation. A development, which some had condemned and currently sparking tension on campus.
When contacted on Saturday evening, a senior academic staff of the institution told Mouthpiece NGR that accreditation is not the business of governing council, saying it is the government that is responsible for it.
He noted that the accreditation is about to commence which is currently causing tension on campus. “There should be a modality for outstanding payment.”
“As a professor, I earn closed to 400,000 in a month but only takes home N19,000 because of a year loan from cooperative many of us already taken to settle bills and attend to some needs.
“We largely sustain with the mid payment of outstanding salaries which the current council members have stopped and not even saying anything about it.”
“If nothing is done about how the school is going to pay the remaining 5 months salaries, the staff members would frustrate the executives to call emergency congress and declare strike.”
Asked why ASUU could not join SSANU over its recent warning strike before Sallah that halted exams activities which eventually got threat reaction from management, the don noted that there is no how ASUU would join the agitation when there was ASUU election and leadership crisis.
According to him, it was after the intervention of national ASUU that the issue was resolved thereby returning Dr Abiodun Olaniran as ASUU Chairman till the Union is able to reconstitute new leadership.
A senior staff of the university who spoke in confidence with our correspondent further reiterated that the agitation is already underground and that members are ready to frustrate strike if congress is called anytime soon.
He appealed to Oyo state government to contact ASUU, SSANU, NAT, NASU including stakeholders of Alumni Mother’s chapter, global executives as well as Committee of Dean and Provost for the confirmation of recent development in the school instead of relying on what Council chairman says.
In his submission, a non teaching staff added that the IGR base of the school has increased and should not be used for accreditation. He asked the management to check the accreditation exercise done by Ladoja’s government, Akala/Oyinlola government and also Aregbesola/Ajimobi led owners, saying it is the duty of the government to fund accreditation and not the responsibility of governing council by using IGR.
“For Governor Seyi Makinde to keep the tempo of love masses already have for him, he really need to avoid strike by all means and direct Professor Ayodeji Omole to do the needful,” he said.