LAUTECH sets for industrial action
ANOTHER industrial action looms in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, as the institution’s academic staff on the platform of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has began offering skeletal services by invoking the “No pay, No work” principle.
Chairperson, ASUU, LAUTECH branch, Dr Biodun Olaniran, who disclosed this to Tribune Online, on Tuesday, pointed to breaches in the agreement the union reached with the university’s management in February 2017, especially noting the accumulation of salaries arrears of seven and a half months.
It would be recalled that the union had in February called off a seven months strike following the release of N584 million by the two owner state governments of Oyo and Osun to clear two months of the outstanding salaries owed staff.
Olaniran said the breach of the Memorandum of Understanding was in the accumulation of arrears of unpaid salaries since the release of N584million as last payments.
This is just as he prayed for the release of the report of the visitation panel chaired by Chief Wole Olanipekun, set up to provide lasting recommendations on resolving the recurrent LAUTECH crisis.
“We had some breaches in the agreement with the university management. The issues are accumulation of salaries, that is salaries are not paid as at when due. Currently, we have not been paid half February, March and April 2017 salary, as well as the backlog of salaries from August to December 2016.
This brings us to a total of seven and a half months of arrears.”
“So, our position on non payment of salaries is No pay, No work. We are not on strike; we still do skeletal work like seminars, coordinating PhD/Masters exams, projects.”
“The last payment we received was the N292 million given by each of the two owner state governments to settle two out of seven months already owed the staff as of then.”
“Presently, the spirit and content of that agreement has substantially been breached. Accumulation of arrears of unpaid salaries has continued unabated. Government has refused to make the report of the panel public.”
“Our union therefore is left with no option but to invoke the provisions of No Pay No work while the process for the resumption of our suspended full-blown strike is on-going.”
“Members of the public should prevail on the governments of Oyo and Osun to live up to their responsibility to prevent another round of industrial crisis,” Olaniran said.
In a bid to avert the looming strike, the Oyo State House of Assembly, on Tuesday, called on the two owner state governments led by Governor Abiola Ajimobi and Governor Rauf Aregbesola to urgently take proactive steps to avert another strike.
Deliberating on the issue brought up by Honourable Wumi Oladeji of Ogbomoso North constituency, as matter of urgent public, the Assembly implored the Oyo and Osun governments to clear some of the outstanding salaries of LAUTECH staff.
Aside from the issue of salaries arrears, Oladeji had also called on the technical committee chaired by Dr Gbade Ojo, examining the Olanipekun visitation panel report, to release the requisite white paper.
The Assembly consequently mandated its Committee on Education, Science and Technology, to meet with relevant stakeholders and report its findings next week.
We gathered that the technical committee report is ready and due for an official presentation to the two owner state governors.
It would be recalled that the two owner state governments, as part of measures to ensure viability of LAUTECH had engaged an auditing firm to examine the institution’s financial account and personnel over the years.
The Osun and Oyo state governments had hinged the auditing on wanting to fathom why LAUTECH can’t be able to run on Internally Generated Revenue.
Recently speaking on the LAUTECH issue, Governor Rauf Aregbesola noted that the recommendations offered by the auditing firm after the financial and staff audit would provide a lasting solution to the institution’s challenges.
He therefore appealed for forbearance of the academic staff and students of the institution pending the completion of the auditing exercise.
“We engaged an international audit firm to know why LAUTECH can’t run within its own resource base. The University should be able to fend for itself. We are pained that the school is challenged. My appeal to the management, academia, students is to exercise some patience. We will soon get out of the challenges we have with LAUTECH. We are quite conscious of the difficulties we are facing. When we are done with the audit, we will come up with a lasting solution,” Aregbesola said.
Similarly, Oyo Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Niyi Olowofela, speaking with Tribune Online, appealed to the ASUU to take into cognizance the trying economic situation in the country and await the report of the auditing firm.
“They should allow the auditing firm complete the audit of the account and personnel of LAUTECH. Afterwards, the recommendations of the audit firm will be complied with by the two state governments, then the LAUTECH issue will be resolved permanently,” Olowofela said.