Workers of six Oyo State tertiary institutions on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest in Ibadan over their 18 months’ salary arrears owed by the state government.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the protest train, which took off from the state secretariat of Nigeria Labour Congress ended at the governor’s office.
The state-owned institutions are Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora, Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo and Oyo State College of Education, Lanlate.
Others are The Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki; The Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa and The Polytechnic Ibadan.
NAN recalls that all trade unions in the institutions had on Monday, January 14, resumed their suspended industrial action after the expiration of a seven-day ultimatum.
Afeez Adeniyi, the spokesman of the six trade unions, said that the protest was to demand the payment of their members’ salary arrears of between three and 18 months.
Adeniyi said that the protest was also to call on the state government to restore 100 per cent monthly salary payment to workers in the institutions.
He explained that the accrued salary arrears were as a result of illegal fractional payment of salaries since January 2016.
He said: “The seven-day ultimatum issued on January 7 to the state government to pay all the salary arrears has lapsed on January 14.
“Since government has failed again to fulfill the governor’s promise of October 24, 2018, the unions had directed all workers in the six tertiary institutions to resume the suspended industrial action on January 14.”
Adeniyi expressed displeasure over what he called “the state government’s disposition to our plight,” saying that government has refused to feel the pains and agonies the workers are going through.
He said: “When a government fails to provide qualitative and affordable education for the generality of its people, it is indirectly promoting social upheaval.
“In the state today, tertiary education is getting out of the reach of the common man as a result of incessant industrial actions that have become the order of the day.”
The State’s Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo, while appealing to the union members said that government was making efforts to increase subventions to all institutions of higher learning in state.
Adeyemo said: “The governor is very passionate about this and we want to make sure we don’t owe anybody before we go. But, at the same time, there is time for everything.
“He is making efforts to ensure no worker is owed before we go in the next four months. I will tell the governor when he returns and we will still negotiate with them.”
The deputy governor expressed regrets that the administration was unable to increase subventions to the institutions, adding that the institutions have been asked to look inwards toward increasing their Internally Generated Revenue.
He, however, decried the conduct of the protesting workers, and urged them to always embrace dialogue and negotiation on such issues.