After exhausting all negotiations and avenues to ensure the payment of their 64 months’ hazard allowance backlog, workers of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, are set to begin an industrial action.
The workers under the aegis of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), embarked on a protest last week to demand for the payment of their hazard allowance running into 64 months.
During the protest, the workers locked all the gates leading to the campus, preventing vehicular movement in and out of the university.
They also shut down the electricity and water supply to the lecture halls and halls of residence on campus.
NASU also shut down the senate building, preventing the Vice Chancellor, Professor Bamitale Omole, and other principal officers of the institution from entering their offices.
The workers also locked up the library and paralysed academic activities, which led to a lecture boycott by students, who joined the protesting workers, asking the management to pay their allowances.
The students maintained that the refusal of the management to meet their demands had caused untold hardship to them on the campus.
Chairman of NASU, OAU chapter, ? Wole Odewunmi?, said: “After all means, if the management refuses to respond to our demand, we will notify the management of our strike. This is just a notification ahead of our strike action.
“We met with the pro-chancellor but his response does not suite us. After I took the report of the meeting to our members, they decided that we should make our agitation known to the management and the public.
“For the past 64 months, we are owed hazard allowance and we have had several meetings but yielded no results.
“The two parties, government and management, keep pushing blames on one another and it is these people that we know that we will protest to.”
Moreover, a circular obtained through the Public Relations Officer of OAU, Biodun Olarewaju, explained that the university would pay the workers as soon as it gets the allowance from Federal Government.
Olarewaju said, “?Much as the university community is hereby drawn to the fact that the said amount of N2.8 billion is not for the payment of earned allowances, either in part or full, but funds provided by the Federal Government for project implementation under the 2013 NEEDS Assessment Intervention in Nigerian public universities, the university administration knows a fact, and this can be verified from other federal universities, that no federal university has paid earned allowances to any member of staff.
“The university administration wishes to reiterate that as soon as the Federal Government releases the second tranche of the earned allowances, payment will be made immediately.”
Source: daily independent