Staff of Ogun State-owned Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) grounded activities for several hours on Wednesday to protest the non-payment of their salary and gratuities.
The protesting polytechnic workers, who are mainly teaching and non-teaching staff, blocked the administrative building and prevented entry into the school through the main gate.
Armed with placards bearing different inscriptions, the angry staff chanted solidarity songs while alleging that the management of the institution of owing them backlogs of salaries.
Some of their placards read: “Enough of suffering and smiling”; “Implementation of minimum wage”; “Pay our pension deduction (55 months).”
Others include: “We want new management”; “Release our promotion as and when due”; ” Please pay our salaries”, among several others.
They alleged that the backlogs include 24 months of union deduction, cooperative deductions since 2017, the non-payment of salaries, minimum wage implementation,
pension remittance, and their promotion and appointment since 2019.
Dada Olalekan, the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnic (SSANIP) in the institution explained that the management of the school has been insensitive to the plights of the workers.
Mr Olalekan, who spoke after addressing his co-protesters, also said that the management has specifically refused to implement the minimum wage for staff of the institution.
He added that they were being owed three months’ salary from October 2022 and 55 months of pension arrears.
“The management of MAPOLY is owing us three months’ salary from October 2022; all other institutions and government agencies are collecting a minimum wage, MAPOLY has refused to implement the minimum wage; the management is owing us 55 months of pension arrears. As I speak, nobody has a pension future here. If anybody retires tomorrow, there’s no future or pension for that person,” Mr Olalekan told reporters during the protest.
While noting that the protesting workers have long been asking for their entitlement, the labour leader alleged that the last time promotion was carried out in the government owned-polytechnic was in 2019.
“The appointment or promotion has not been done since 2019 and colleagues in other institutions have overtaken us because of promotion and appointment,” he alleged.
Mr Olalekan, however, asked the governor Dapo Abiodun-led government in Ogun to borrow a leaf from the Oyo, Lagos and Osun governments by taking over the account of the school and paying the staff directly.
“Oyo has higher institutions and they pay all their salaries before 25th of every month 100%,” the SSANIP chair said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Kolawole Sopade, also decried the non-payment of the staffs’ salary, stressing that the institution was being run like a private institution.
Mr Sopade, who lamented that the only source of revenue was from the tuition being paid by the students, added that the state government needed to urgently bail them out.
“The salary we are talking about now, if we collect it, there is no assurance that we will collect another salary in three months based on the JAMB and NBTE quota they gave to us.
“If we enrol students now, with the limited quota they gave to us, and the limited school fees they are going to pay, there is no means of survival after March or April,” he said.
Mr Sopade also hinted that the government has refused to pay the subvention acquirable to the polytechnic.
He also alleged that a N300 million COVID-19 bailout given to the institution during the pandemic was later converted to a loan.
“So, after the school fees are paid. The management used it to pay salaries at once, there is nothing to rely on, the government should come and take over the polytechnic and run it as a state-owned institution, this is not a private polytechnic.”
The spokesperson for the institution, Yemi Ajibola, could not be reached as of press time as his official telephone lines were not connecting despite several efforts by Peoples Gazette to get his reaction.
Recall that last October, the students of the school also shut down the campus in protest of a newly introduced N20,000 mandatory registration fee for new students amidst other fee increments.