Ado Poly In Troubled Waters

Attempts to build a bridge over the troubled waters of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti have hit a land mine and the students of the institution may to stay at home for longer as..... lecturers and non-academic staff unions have decided to down tools in protest.




 There have been protest over alleged injustice which staff members had been living with for several months.




 The three labour unions under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP) and Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) – had on October 10 declared an indefinite industrial action over the failure of the management of the institution to address their grievances.


 But on Monday, the 7th of November, just as the students of the institution were heaving a sigh of relief that all the parties in the crisis may have exhausted their gun powder and may be thinking of calling a truce, the management struck, postponing the resumption date for another two weeks.




The workers, had during a series of protests at the 39 year-old institution, warned the Rector, Dr Theresa Akande-led management to meet workers’ demands or prepare to contend with a show down that would eventually culminate in an indefinite industrial action, which has made a once boisterous institution look very much like a ghost town.


Grouse and the Rector’s sins


 Their grouse, according to the three unions, are allegations of improper designation of over 500 workers; non-remittance of workers’ cooperative deductions; high-handedness, maladministration and misadministration of funds and other sundry issues impacting their welfare.




Indefinite strike action has become a recurring decimal in the 39 year-old institution, since the emergence of the present Rector, Dr Theresa Akande, in 2010.




 Her appointment sparked a protest that rendered the school prostrate for several weeks and when her tenureship was being renewed in 2013, another protest rocked the institution and it took the intervention of some Ekiti Elders led by the Founder of Afe Babalola University, Aare Afe Bablola before the contending forces in the institution sheathed their swords.



 It would be recalled that crisis over the same issues last year led to the shut down of activities by the labour unions for six weeks in 2015 following which an inter-ministerial panel was set up in May 2015 on FPA crisis SSANIP Chairman, Dr Oluwole Ayeni, who said the grouses of the three unions had protracted issues since 2013 when some workers were employed with Consolidated Tertiary Institution Salary Scheme (CONTISS) 8 payment scheme.






 According to him, the management in 2014 altered the payment scheme by reducing it from CONTISS 8 to CONTISS 7 citing certain circulars from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). Ayeni, who said it was in a bid to correct the alleged anomaly and others that the workers, after exploring all available channels since then, embarked on the 2015 action.




 He said they had to call off the industrial action at the intervention of the then Education Minister, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who directed the management that status quo be maintained and the plea of the management to workers for consideration, thinking the situation would be redressed.




 The SSANIP leader, added that the three unions had since December 2015, on realising that the management was “playing games with them on the issues” stepped up efforts to redress the alleged injustice through dialogues and ultimatums and even a four-day warning strike in May 2016, saying “the management turned deaf ears to all these.”




Workers demand another investigative panel Ayeni appealed to the Federal Government to set up another investigative panel to find lasting solutions to the unending crisis in the institution. In his words: “We appeal to the Education Minister, Alhaji Adamu Adamu; Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Emeka Ngige and the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo; to wade in to save the situation.




 “We are also reaching out to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), and Department of State Services (DSS) on investigation of the school management on these allegations,” the SSANIP chairman said.


 ASUP Chairman, Mr Tunji Owoeye, said the workers were protesting alleged injustice which he said they had been living through for several months. Management reacts




 However, the institution’s Deputy Registrar, Information, Mr Adeyemi Adejolu, told Vanguard that the unions’ complaints were all old allegations packaged anew, which the Federal Government was already looking into.




 Adejolu said: “the labour unions petitioned the ministers, DSS, EFCC, ICPC and other regulatory agencies. The Government is looking into their allegations.”




 Meanwhile, the Rector, Dr Theresa Akande, while speaking with newsmen, said the unions had not communicated with the management on the purported industrial action, adding that the management had been meeting with the unions trying to find resolution of their grouse.
 















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