The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), Noforija, Epe Chapter on Monday declared an indefinite strike and staged a peaceful protest around the college. The Chairman of the Union, Mr Michael Adefuye said the strike was declared as a result of the non-implementation of the union’s demands by the College authorities.
Adefuye said the union had served the college management an initial 21-day ultimatum, followed by a 14-day ultimatum and lastly a 7-day ultimatum on April 11.
He said the management ignored the ultimatums sent by the union to them and did not invite the union for any dialogue.
“Following the ultimatum and notice of indefinite strike action served on the Management dated April 11, 2016.
“The Chapter’s Executive Council (CEC) convened an emergency congress on April 14 and discussed the inevitability of the industrial dispute.
“We the COEASU, MOCPED chapter hereby release the under listed burning issues on our campus to the general public for the commencement of indefinite strike action, ‘’ he said.
According to him, the union was demanding for the payment of over 43 months un-remitted pensions to the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) after the State Government increased the subvention in 2013.
Adefuye said the government also provided a financial bail-out in 2013 to enable the college’s management fulfill the financial responsibilities.
According to him, the college’s management was expected to remit Tax and PFA to appropriate government agencies but the bailout was not properly disbursed to meet its purpose.
The Chairman said sequel to the non-remittance of the fund, the retirement benefits of retired members and deceased staff had not been paid or updated.
Adefuye said there were also cases of appointment of some individuals into position of authorities without due regard to the College’s edict and enabling law.
He said the Management had also collapsed the degree programmes with Ekiti State University (EKSU), while others such as Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED) and Federal College of Education, Akoka, affiliates were flourishing.
The Chairman said that the management had also converted the college properties bought by the government and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) to their personal use.
Adefuye urged Visitor to the College Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, to set up a panel of enquiry to look at the issues raised to discover other burning issues on the management of the College.
A Management staff of the college, who preferred anonymity, spoke on behalf of the Provost, Prof. Olu Akeusola.
He said the college authorities were aware of the commencement of the strike but due process was not followed because the management did not receive any ultimatum.
The official said the three unions in the college under the Joint Action Committee (JAC) had only written a letter for audience to the management in January, which was granted and a meeting was held and several issues discussed.
He admitted that it was true that the College had not been able to remit the monthly PFA as and when due.
According to him, the PFA was not remitted because the subvention the college was receiving from the government was not enough.
“We are receiving N76.4 million as subvention and our wage bill is 94.3 million, So what we do is to pay salary and other dues and we have informed the unions of this situation,’’ he said.
The official explained that in March, the College wage bill ran into 105.8million and the management had to sought for a bank loan to augment.
He said the management had presented the case to the government and the House of Assembly had in 2015 promised to increase the subvention by 11 million.
According to him, the increment was approved on paper but had not been released till date.
He added that since October 2013 when bail-out was given to institutions, no bail-out had been given to any institution as promised by the government in June 2015.
The official said that the outstanding PFA was 32 months, as against the 43 months claimed by the union.
He noted that the degree programme was not actually collapsed but the college decided to opt out of it because the sharing ratio with EKSU was not favorable to the college.
“The college was responsible for the expenditure in running the programme, so the government considering the cost said it was no longer interested with affiliation,’’ he said.
According to him, The National Universities Commission (NUC) had also written to the College to stop the affiliation with EKSU because the distance between the institutions was more than 200 km.
“We cannot do against the directive of the NUC, so the plan is graduate the present set and not admit freshers because NUC will not recognise them,’’ the official said.
He said that to salvage the situation, the government was working on transforming the college to a University of Education and plans to that effect had started.
The official said that the Academic Staff were not happy with the government’s plan to transform the College to a university because most of them would be at disadvantage in terms of promotion.
He said that out of the 190 academic staff in the College, only 17 had PhD, while many others were undergoing various Doctorate degree programmes.
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