With the industrial action embarked upon by staff unions of the Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora, clocking four months, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) of the institution has decried the continued inability of the governing council of the institution and the state government to resolve the impasse.
ASUP of the institution in its latest statement, signed by its Chairman, Mr Afees Adeniyi, bemoaned that the issues of nonpayment of salary arrears of 17 months, payment of fractional salaries from January 2016 till July 2018, inadequate subvention and poor funding leading to infrastructure deficit persisted.
Consequently, the union urged the state government to utilize the expected final tranche of Paris Club refund to defray the outstanding arrears as well as increase subvention given to OYSCATECH to 95 per cent to guarantee regular payment of 100 per cent workers salary and provide teaching facilities that will ensure students learn in a conducive environment
It was gathered that the workers at their various congresses had insisted on being paid a minimum of 100 per cent of their August salary for them to consider ending the strike and resuming work.
The statement also saw the ASUP calling on the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 elections in the State, Mr Adebayo Adelabu to prevail on the Governor Abiola Ajimobi led government to accede to its demand
However, management of the institution has urged the striking staff to resume to afford them an opportunity to look into the demands.
Public Relations Officer of the college, Mrs Opeyemi Olawore, who rendered the appeal said, “We call for understanding on the part of the labour unions’ leadership and members. We also appeal to them to resume back to duties for the authorities to look into their demands.”
In the same vein, some management staff of the college decried that the non-resumption of staff continued to take its toll on the management with its inability to have students pay their school fees aside from activating its other sources of income.
Speaking on the latest outcry by the OSCATECH staff, Secretary to the State Government, Mr Olalekan Alli said it was imperative for staff and students of the institution to cooperate with their governing council for the impasse to be resolved.
He pointed out that the call for a further increase in subvention could only happen when government’s income increases, adding that institutions must task themselves on being accountable, self-sufficient and not solely applying their grant to the payment of salary.
“We appeal to the students and staff as well as the management to cooperate with the governing councils that government has appointed. Each institution has its own peculiarities that the governing councils must address.
People must learn to accommodate in whatever situation they find themselves. We have the governing councils so that they can operate as individual entities.
“They take subvention as the direct intervention of government on their salary packages for which they have been applying whatever grant they get from the government.
“Government then decided that based on austere times, it will minimise the grant given to tertiary institutions for them to be more accountable than ever.
“Government does not control their accounts, the number of students they admit, their expenses profile. The government wants them to be self-sufficient, be accountable and not directly apply whatever grant they get to a particular head (expense profile).
“Government also set up governing councils that are directly managing the affairs of their institutions. Each institution has its own peculiarities that are being addressed by the governing councils.
“The governing council superintendent all matters affecting the institution and the council have been applying all measures to solve their problems. Oke Ogun Polytechnic, Saki; The Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa; The Polytechnic, Ibadan are working, as well as College of Education, Lanlate, until recently; it’s only Emmanuel Alayande, Oyo and College of Agriculture, Igboora which has just been recognised by the Board for Technical Education as full-fledged polytechnic, are the ones we have been having problems of sustaining their sessions. I’m sure their governing councils are up to the task to solve their problems.
“Government is on the situation and only recently increased their subvention. Their request for a further increase in subvention will come when we have an increase in our own income as government.
“They must be able to task themselves to do the needful and run their academic affairs smoothly. They should not be tied to the apron strings of government which is why we have governing councils in place. Otherwise, It will amount to interference by government in the individual affairs of those institutions as they all have the freedom to determine the number of students they want and how they manage their affairs,” Alli said.