Ladoke Akintola University Of Technology, Ogbomosho, might be going on a fresh strike sometime soon as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has raised an alarm over the lack of appropriate funds for the institution jointly owned by both Oyo and Osun states.
It will be recalled that the University went on a lengthy strike action both in the year 2016 and the year 2017 over lack of proper funding as the governments of the two owner States abandoned all their financial responsibilities to the Institution.
In a press statement signed by the Chairperson of Lautech branch of ASUU, Dr Biodun Olaniran and the Secretary of Lautech branch of ASUU, Dr Toyin Abegunrin, on Wednesday in Ibadan, disclosed that its members are being owed several months of salaries running to 10 months, as well as promotion arrears.
They also lamented that there had been little or no tangible infrastructural development in the institution since the inception of the current governors: Senator Abiola Ajimobi and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Oyo and Osun states, respectively.
The union also disclosed that members of staff have started retiring while others were leaving the institution in search for greener pasture, with increasing students’ enrolment and as there has been no employment of any kind had been made in the last ten years to replace the vacant positions in the institution.
The statement titled, “LAUTECH CRISES: ANOTHER STRIKE IMMINENT”, called on well-meaning Nigerians to appeal to both the governors of the two states to do something about the financial situation of the University in order to prevent the institution from total collapse.
“LAUTECH CRISES: ANOTHER STRIKE IMMINENT”
“This is to notify the general public that another strike is looming in LAUTECH due to non- funding of the University. Due to inadequate funding of the University by the owner states, members of staff were owed several months of salary (precisely, 10 months), promotion arrears among others.
“Apart from non-payment of salaries and other entitlements, there has been no singular infrastructural development on campus since the inception of the present administration in Oyo and Osun states. Members of staff are retiring while some other ones are leaving the University for other Universities, students’ enrolment is increasing yet no employment of any kind has been made in the last ten years.
“On several occasions, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), LAUTECH branch had communications with the University Management as well as the then Governing Council. When the situation became unbearable, particularly due to non-responsiveness of the two owner governments to their responsibility to the University, the Union embarked on an industrial action. During the course of the strike, attempts were made to solve the problems.
“One of such attempts was the constitution of a Visitation Panel led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN). The result of the Visitation Panel was released and a Technical Committee was set up by Oyo state government. A white paper on the report of the Visitation was issued with a lot of alterations on the recommendations of the Visitation Panel. Instead of implementing the recommendations in the report, the governments kept hammering on the auditing of the accounts of the University by KPMG.
“During the course of the struggle, the tenure of office of Wale Omole-led Governing Council expired and a new Governing Council led by Prof ‘Dapo Afolabi was constituted. In an attempt to resolve the crises, the new Governing Council met on several occasions with ASUU. At one of the meetings (on the 11th January 2017), the Governing Council requested the Union to submit its proposal on how to resolve the crises in the University.
“At a meeting in Lagos on the 13th February 2017, the Union presented its proposal to the Governing Council. The proposal was deliberated upon by the Union and the Council members. Certain amendments were made to the satisfaction of the two parties. This culminated into the signing of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) between the Union and the Governing Council on the same day (13/02/2017).
“On Tuesday 17th of February, 2017, ASUU LAUTECH Branch held a congress and the contents of the MoA were read at the Congress floor. Arising from the Congress, it was unanimously agreed upon that the strike be suspended (immediately in principle and that academic activities should resume on Monday 23rd of February, 2017) conditionally based on a caveat based on the caveat that “the Union will be at liberty to take any action it deems fit if the Council reneges in any of the agreements.”
“As soon as the strike was suspended, academic works resumed in earnest with all our members working assiduously to ensure that the system is restored to perfect running while also making efforts to cover some lost grounds. The KPMG came and did the auditing. The result is still unknown to us up till now; staff auditing was done in December 2017 by the Governing Council members and was found out that the University is understaffed, yet work was going on smoothly.
“However to our dismay, we discovered that the governments still refuse to attend to their funding responsibilities of the University even after the said “auditing”, both personnel and accounts. The arrears of salaries (10 months), promotion arrears, Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), among others, are not paid. There is no positive response to other welfare issues including the pension and gratuity and National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). These observations were communicated to the University Management and the Governing Council on several occasions. Sometimes, letter of appeal will be written to the Union to bear with them. Since January 2018, monthly salaries are being paid fairly regularly, largely from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) resources of the University (probably due to increase in school fee earlier imposed on the poor masses).
“But by the end of May, the money had been exhausted and therefore the June salary was only paid in part! The latest letter to the Council was written on Tuesday 5th July 2018, calling its attention to its reneging on the MoA of 13th February 2017 and the clause that led to the conditional suspension of the strike. On Thursday 7th July 2018, a congress of the Union was held and it was resolved that the Branch will embark on Active Non-Cooperation (ANC) for three days in the first instance.
“The approval was sought from the National Body of our Union and the University Management was briefed (in writing) on the resolution. The National body of our Union accordingly sends a delegation to LAUTECH to verify whether it is true or not that the Branch is proposing to down tool. However, at the end of a congress on 20th July 2018 and in the presence of the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU delegation, the Branch resolved to embark on two weeks warning strike if all the issues are not positively addressed.
“We, therefore, call on well-meaning members of the public to call on the governments of the owner states of the University, for the sake of our children and the future of the country, to wake up to their responsibilities on the University.”