The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has called for the removal of Labode Popoola, the vice-chancellor of the Osun State University, Osogbo (UNIOSUN).
The union, in a statement signed by its national spokesperson, Salaam Abdussobur, on Wednesday called for removal of the VC over alleged unlawful suspension of the leaders of three non-teaching unions – National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU). The workers were allegedly suspended for staging protests over “the tyrannical and despotic disposition of the Management of the University.”
The union also accused the vice-chancellor of illegally directing a stop in the deduction of union check-off dues, and non-payment of staff salaries for the months of May and June 2018.
“These actions have reached the lowest depth with the unlawful and irregular suspensions of the leaders of the three non-teaching unions of National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) staging protest over the obnoxious stand of the university management on worker issues.
“Prior to then, the Management had directed a “no work, no pay” rule on staff who had participated in a local strike to protest the non-payment of Earned Allowances which had been approved for staff of the University since December 2016.
“This refusal of management to pay the earned allowances, in the name of lack of funds, fell flat in the eyes of the staff who saw a management approving for itself bogus allowances and allocating huge benefits to themselves including cars and other luxuries.
“Following the strike action by the unions, the management decided to withhold the salaries of staff for the months of May and June 2018 in the name of “no work, no pay.”
The union said it finds the ‘no-work, no-pay’ rule totally unacceptable.
“The “no work, no pay” rule implementation, which we find totally unacceptable, is even considered worse, because of the double standards involved in the implementation, as it is recorded that a sister union, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), had similarly embarked on a strike and their salaries were not withheld.
“We are then forced to wonder why the double standards if not an attempt at divide and rule among the unions, with an intent to cause disaffection and ill will between the unions in the university.”
“The matter has further been compounded by the recent illegal directive of the management stopping union check off dues. This we see, as an attempt to stifle and cripple the unions in order to ensure that their obnoxious anti-worker policies continue unchecked without the vigilant scrutiny of the unions as the conscience of the University.
“With this decision to stop check off dues by the UNIOSUN management, they have shown gross disrespect for the trade union laws of the country which should not be tolerated by the government of Osun State.”
The union said the situation has been worsened by the seeming inability of the governing council, led by Yusuf Ali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, “to put the Vice-Chancellor and Management in check.”
According to the union, the national leadership of the Joint Action Committee of NAAT, NASU and SSANU engaged the pro-chancellor and chairman of the council in seemingly fruitful discussions on the situation in the university. They said the discussions appear not to have yielded any result.
They called for the investigation of various allegations of infractions in the Osun State University and recall of all staff who are being victimised because of their union activities.
They also made a demand for payment of salaries of staff for May and June 2018, which were withheld “because of their participation in a lawful union activity and reinstatement of the union check off dues in compliance with relevant Trade Union laws.”
“We also demand the removal of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Labode Popoola in view of his act of gross misconduct and abuse of office and abuse of trust.”
Efforts to get the reaction of Mr Popoola were unsuccessful as he neither responded to calls and text messages seeking clarification on the allegations.
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