By Rukayat Adeyemi
Striking non-academic Staff of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu, has urged the state government to urgently set up a panel of inquiry to look into the ongoing crisis bedevilling the institution.
The striking LASPOTECH workers also vowed to resist the conduct of students’ examination planned by management to commence on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of Non-Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (NASUP) and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnic (SSANIP) LASPOTECH Chapter had on Jan. 21 embarked on indefinite strike demanding a reversal of alleged de-migration of their salary structure.
Mr Abiodun Awoyemi, Chairman of SSANIP, LASPOTECH Chapter, told journalists on Thursday in Lagos that delay by the government in probing the crisis might spell more doom for the institution.
“It is in view of this we call on government to set up a panel of inquiry for the institution and the immediate sack of the entire Samuel Sogunro-led management and the 11th Governing Council.
“Staff and students are the ones feeling the effect of Sogunro’s gangster-style of administration,” he said.
Awoyemi said that the union was aware of plans by the institution’s management to conduct examinations and incite the leadership of the students’ union against the striking workers.
“We learnt that the management is contemplating of forcefully conducting examination for the students next week Monday, despite the ongoing strike by the non- academic staff.
”We are also aware that the management had also invited the executive members of the Students Union to canvass them to clash with the staff unions if we resist.
“We have however sent a warning to the students leadership to stay away and not be a party to the ongoing crisis because they are our children and we can never clash with them, as examination will be after our struggle,” he said.
Awoyemi explained that examination conduct was not a responsibility of the academic staff alone but a task for both the academic and non- academic staff as well.
He said that conducting an examination in the chaotic atmosphere presently witnessed in the polytechnic was unsafe and might be exposing the students to risk in case of any emergency .
“This is because electricity supply, security, clinical and ambulance services, among other essential services provided by the non-teaching staff, will not be available due to the ongoing strike,” he said.
Awoyemi alleged that the Rector and his entire management team supported by the governing council had been abusing their offices by reversing the CONTISS 15 Migration as implemented in October 2016 as reflected in January 2019 salary for all staff on CONTISS 11 and below to pre-migration status.
He revealed that the rude shock received as a result of the de-migration led to the sudden death of one Mr Olumide Hassan, a NASUP staff who was demoted from level seven to five.
The chairman accused the rector of engaging in unsavory victimisation of staff through interdiction, demotion, illegal disengagement, nepotism, undue promotion of acquaintances, amongst others
“Sogunro has turned the Polytechnic to his personal property and used his office for his friends and relations to draw unqualified favours for their benefit,” the union leader alleged.
Awoyemi said the rector, with the support of the governing council, also employed 28 staff members in late 2018 without internal and or external advertisements and assessor.
“In spite of the lingering crisis, the management and governing council have assiduously avoided meeting with the staff unions for over two years.
“We therefore pass a no confidence vote on the Sogunro’s led administration, the 11th governing council and the representatives of the unions in the council because they are there for their own interest.
“The over three years deep rooted crisis that engulfed the Polytechnic since the assumption of the rector in 2015 is alien to the staff and LASPOTECH community and this is as a result of Sogunro’s high handedness, financial recklessness and maladministration,” he said.
Meanwhile, LASPOTECH Spokesman, Mr Olarewaju Kuye, did not respond to NAN calls and text messages on the unions’ allegations.
The unions said that the strike was to demand a reversal in the de-migration of the polytechnic’s workers salary structure from the CONTISS 15 migration by the rector in violation of the Deputy Governor’s pronouncement and court’s directive.
The polytechnic management, however, said it did not demigrate its staff as claimed but was only correcting a realignment of the salary structure as directed by the state government.
It said the need for the alignment arose because the management of the polytechnic was forced by the unions to implement the migration in 2016, while the document presented for implementation as later discovered, did not emanate from NBTE.
Following the continuous protest, the management disengaged four members of the union on issues bothering on the breach of peace within the campus.
Among other union leaders present at the news briefing were ASUP LASPOTECH Vice Chairman, Mr Olugbenga Salami and Mr Akinlawon Fasasi, LASPOTECH NASU Chairman, who was allegedly disengaged by the institution.(NAN)