University workers strike grounds activities in OAU

Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)
Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)

The Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has been hit by the strike action declared by Joint Action Committee of Non Academic Students Union, NASU, Senior Staff Academic of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), with vital services shut down and main gate locked in effect.

The strike action commenced on Monday, following opposition of the aggrieved staff unions to sharing ratio of the money for earned allowances released by the federal government. The disputed proposal for OAU is 89 per cent to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, while the three non-teaching unions take the remaining 11 per cent.

According to our correspondent who monitored the development on campus, the university staff school and the medical centre have been shut down. Similarly, water and electricity supplies, both responsibilities of NASU members, have been cut, leaving students in halls of residence and staff in unpleasant situations.

The OAU branches of NASU, NAAT and SSANU resolved to join their national bodies on the strike action during their joint congress held at the school’s sports centre on Monday.

Their action was a defiant disregard of the last week’s warning by the management. In a statement last week, the OAU Registrar, Dotun Awoyemi, had warned the aggrieved staff against disruption of activities on campus, after their initial protests.

“We have our weapon officially and we are not scared of any authority,” said NASU chairman for OAU, Wole Odebunmi.

Also, the SSANU chairman, Ademola Oketunde, told PREMIUM TIMES that “The strike is total, comprehensive and indefinite. Let the management know that OAU workers are fully involved. Health centre, staff school, power house and others would be shut down right now.

“The staff school examination would be suspended till further notice. We are also important people in the system.”

The Vice Chairman of NAAT, Adeyo Sunday, said: “We are just starting the fight. We are not for disorderliness but posterity will judge us if we fail to demand our right. We are not fighting ASUU, we are fighting oppressors; except the government reverse the order. They (ASUU) go on sabbatical but we don’t and they still want to cheat us. We are not just mere workers but indeed relevant”

A former chairman of university drivers and a member of SSANU who simply identified himself as Akintunde said: “We are living with thieves; when we collected 30 billion in 2013, we shared it equally. The fight has started fully in OAU today, all OAU buses will be seized and any driver caught driving should be beaten. It is an insult for the ASUU to be regarding us as subordinate staff.”

Apart from shutting down staff school, the medical centre and water and electricity supplies, the protesting staff also locked the main access gate to the school on Tuesday, preventing vehicles from gaining entrance.

Similarly, all major roads on OAU campus were also blocked.

If these actions continue, the school may be closed, forcing students eyeing their second semester examinations to go home.

The spokesperson for the school, Abiodun Olanrewaju, did not pick calls placed to his phone for comments.

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