The Management of the Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin-Ladi says it is owing casual workers of the institution 13 months arrears of stipends and not 26 months.
Plateau Polytechnic Rector, John Dawam, made the clarification at a news conference on Tuesday in Barkin-Ladi.
The Rector was reacting to a protest staged by the casual workers, which has crippled academic activities within the institution since Monday.
Dawam denied the allegation made by the casual workers that they were owed their stipends of N10,000 per month for 26 months.
He said: “I’m pleased to address you this afternoon and to put the record straight before the public on the ongoing protest by some of the casual workers of our institution.
“It is not true that the polytechnic management is owing them stipends arrears for 26 months.
“It is for 13 months.
“When we came on board in 2019, we inherited 16 months arrears of these stipends and we were able to reduce it, including that of our time, to 13 months.
“We are still owing because of the challenges we faced due to the advent of COVID-19 and the incessant strike actions which affected our operations and our revenue generation.”
On allegation of total exclusion of the casual workers from the recent employment in the institution, the Rector said out of the 202 slots government allotted to the polytechnic community, 130 newly-employed workers are among the casual workers.
Dawam said: “We have 446 casual workers in the polytechnic and when approval came for employment, we were allotted 202 slots.
“We were told to give 30 per cent, which is 61 slots to the casual workers.
“I wasn’t pleased with that decision and I personally went to the Head of Service to complain and he graciously added 51 slots for them.
“We have also allocated 10 per cent of the slots to our host communities where the casual workers largely come from.
“So, in total, we gave 130 casual workers substantive employment in the recent recruitment.”
The Rector alleged that the ongoing protest by the workers was politically motivated, adding that some of the casual workers were already in institution when recruitment were carried out in 2006, yet none of them raised an eyebrow.
On the issue of temporary disengagement of the casual workers, Dawam explained that it was done in good light.
He said: “We decided to temporarily disengage them because we don’t want the backlog of their stipends to accumulate, pending when government will consider them for a substantive employment.”
Dawam appealed to protesting workers to embrace dialogue and allow academic activities in the institution to go on, insisting that the current management under his leadership means well for them.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the protesters, who blocked the all entrances into the institution, wore black cloths and carried placards with different inscriptions.