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Auchi Poly staff on indefinite strike over N1.8bn salary arrears

Auchi polytechnic matriculation

Staff of Federal Polytechnic Auchi were on Monday forced to embark on an indefinite strike over alleged N1.8 billion salary arrears.

The staff on strike are under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (NASUP).

In addition to the strike, members of the unions also staged a protest to press home their demands. The protest however paralysed academic activities at the institution.

It was also learnt that the workers of the institution protested over the alleged failure of the management to enrol them on CONTISS 15 Migration Salary Structure and non-payment of N1.8 billion owed the unions by the management.

Justin Momodu, ASUP chairman of the institution, said the strike, which commenced on Monday, would be indefinite until the management yield to their demands.

“We are on indefinite strike because the polytechnic management has refused to negotiate with us. We have resolved that we would not return to the classrooms until all our demands are made,” he said.
Also, his SSANIP counterpart, Godwin Ikhide, said the polytechnic’s management had been paying workers from welfare savings and union dues, which were deducted from their salaries.

Ikhide said the union could no longer access loans from its purse because of the huge amounts already borrowed from the union’s account by the school’s management.

“Members of our union cannot access loan due to the school management owing us N1.8 billion,” he said.

In a swift reaction, the institution’s image-maker, Mustapha Oshiobugie, who confirmed the allegations of the leadership of the unions, said the management could no longer fund the CONTISS 15 Migration salaries.

Oshiobugie said management had been using its internal generated revenue to fund the salaries of workers, adding that it could no longer sustain it due to non-approval by the Federal Government of the fund meant for the school.

“Management have nothing against CONTISS 15 Migration, the problem is that Migration is not approved by the Salaries and Wages Commission, and because there is not approval for that migration that salaries is not funded by the Federal Government.

“What has been going on is that the school have been using internal generated resources to pay that salaries, by Nov last year it was clear that the situation can no longer continue.

“So, we put the union on notice that by Jan if government is not funding it we will have no option than to stop, or suspend the payment?

“There is a ministerial directive to all polytechnics that are having problem in paying that salaries to suspend further payment until the verification committee set up by the Federal Government comes up with his recommendation on CONTISS 15 as it affect level 11 and below,” he said.

He acknowledged that the institution owed the staff the sum of N1.8 billion, saying the money was use to up set their salaries.

“When you now say the school is owing you N1.8 billion how, that money you are talking about was use to pay their salaries on an agreement between the two side. They are now demanding N1.8 billion, it is like you are eating your cake, you want it at the same time.

“If management must pay back this money, CONTISS 15 Migration funding will have to stop and indeed it has stop from this month,” he said.

He, however added that the management had set up an eight man committee comprises member of the union to workout the modalities of repaying the money to the union. [Business Day]

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