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Ondo Varsity Workers Protest Over Unpaid N35,000 Wage Award

“We are part of the general work force, why is Ondo State excluding us?”:

Workers’ unions under the umbrella of Joint Action Commitee (JAC) in Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, Ondo State on Thursday protested against the alleged failure of the State government to include them in the implementation of N35,000 palliative wage award approved to cushion effects of fuel subsidy removal

Leadership of the joint committee which included the Joint Action Committee, comprises of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), said the palliative had not been received by the staffs of the University since its payment began in Ondo State in November, 2023.

The angry protesters who grounded activities at the state institution said the protest was staged to appeal to the state government to grant them the payment as other state workers have been receiving theirs except staffs of the tertiary institutions in Ondo State.

Speaking during the protest the Chairman of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) in all the state tertiary institution and AAUA SSANU Chairman, Comrade Tayo Ogungbeni, said the demand of the unions was to appeal to the state government not to deny them of their rights to the payment of the wage award agreed by the federal and state governments in collaboration with labour unions for all workers in Nigeria.

Ogungbeni said all workers in Ondo State had been receiving the payment except tertiary institutions in Ondo State in which Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko was also left out

His words: “We have started this protest since Tuesday all over the State tertiary institutions in Ondo State, they did in Olusegun Agagu University in Okitipupa, University of Medical sciences in Ondo city, And Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, we do not want our rights to be taken for granted.

“The federal government announced a palliative wage award of N35,000 for all workers in Nigeria, we are part of the general work force, why is Ondo State excluding us? why are they saying we are not qualify for this pallaitive payment?, We are asking for that money now, we know our governor want our welfarism, because everyone goes to the same market, we also pay for the same fuel Price, what we asked for is our right”.

“The state government need to increase the subvention giving to the university (AAUA), there should be immediate opening of the University main gate, payment of the entitlement of all re-absorbed staff, payments of retirement benefits to our retired staff”.

According to him, “the state government should include us in the palliative payment, we see the nonpayment as a cheating, we are part of Ondo State workers.

“The information we are hearing on why they are not paying us is that they claimed that the tertiary institutions are autonomous, but talking about autonomy, there is no total autonomy when it comes to Universities, the federal Universities are paid, we used the same payment method, I see no reason why we should not be paid, the subvention we do receive is not up to what can cater for our needs.

“Before now, we have written to the Governor (Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa) when he was acting about this development, we appealed to him to intervene, we did fix appointment with him to table our agitations, but to no avail, the protest was to call his attention to this.”

Also, the Chairman of the Non Academic Staff union (NASU), Ekundayo Abiodun, noted that the association would not stop until their demands are met.

“Immediately after the removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria the Federal government declared this palliative wage because the effect of this removal was too much on Nigerians, those in the federal institutions has received theirs, staffs in the Ondo civil service has also been paid two months, but the state owned institution in Ondo State has not received any, we are left out which is unfair.

“I will like to inform that this is stage one of the action, we are going to go further concerning this issue if the government seem not to listen, then we go to the second stage of the action.”

Addressing the protecting workers, the university’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Adebisi Adaramola, said the University is aware of the development as they are making all efforts to ensure the state government pays, appealing to the union to be patient with the authorities.

“We understand that some workers have been paid in Ondo State, but the Staffs of the University have not received theirs, we had tried to convince them that the state government has not sent this money, we are making all necessary efforts to contact government”, the VC said.

Fidelis David in Akure

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