Some staffers of Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki, Oyo State, on Monday, took to the streets to protest alleged casualisation by the institution’s management.
The protesting workers, who were armed with placards with various inscriptions, took to major streets in the town as early as 7 a.m., chanting solidarity songs.
They later assembled at the institution’s gate at about 10 a.m.
The spokesperson of the workers, Adekunle Lookman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the protest was staged to press home their demand for regularisation of their appointments.
“Some of us had been recruited since 2011 as casual staffers, with N20,000 monthly salary, which was later increased to N30, 000 before tax deduction.
“We want people to know that the state government is cheating us and they are calling us slaves for working for them.
“About 187 of us (teaching and non-teaching), with families and dependants, taking home less than N30,000 month. It is disgusting.
“Worst still, they have refused to regularise our appointment, even after using for accreditation of some of the courses,” he said.
According to Mr Lookman, the protest had become necessary because the government had turned deaf ears to their demands, adding: “they are happy as we continue to suffer.”
Another member of the group, Adebayo Samson, said the government had issued a white paper on the regularisation of their appointments, wondering why it had refused to implement it.
“This is a copy of the white paper that was issued in 2019 but up till today, it has not been implemented.
“What is happening to us here is nothing but modern-day slavery and cheating, hence our resolve to embark on this peaceful protest,” Mr Samson said.
In his reaction, the institution’s Governing Council Chairman, Olusola Ajayi, however, told NAN that it was not true that the white paper had not been implemented, adding that it was only the financial aspect of it that had not been given much attention.
“It is not true that we have not been implementing the while paper. It’s only the financial aspect of it that remains to be implemented and we all know what the nation’s economy is now,” said Mr Ajayi, a professor.
“The implementation has some financial implications on the government and the institution. Our regular staffers are agitating for salary increase, while about 150 others are also asking to be included in the salary structure.
“I have held several meetings with them, giving them explanations and asking them to be patient with us,” he said.
Mr Ajayi added that at the last meeting of the governing council, salary increase option was considered for the affected workers pending the regularisation of their appointments.
“We also thought of absorbing 59 of them for now.
“Since they have decided to demonstrate today (Monday), it is their right to do so. I just want to plead that they should not spoil the progress we are already making on the matter,” the governing council chairman said.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the Commissioner for Education, Olasunkanmi Olaleye, for his reaction did not yield a result, as he declined calls put through to his cell phones.
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