Striking workers of the Plateau State University, under the auspices of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, have vowed to continue with their industrial action and accused Governor Simon Lalong of not showing good example about governance to other northern state governors.
The workers, who have been on strike since December last year, made the declaration in a statement made available to Saturday PUNCH in Jos on Friday after their meeting to appraise the industrial action.
The statement, which was jointly signed by the Chairman of the union, Timnan Rindap, and Secretary, Fom Dakwak, said it was unfortunate that since the strike started, the Lalong administration, which prides itself as workers’ friendly, had not deemed it fit to engage the workers on how to resolve the industrial dispute at the institution.
In explaining the genesis of the strike, the statement recalled that upon the agitation of trade unions in the university in 2017 and 2018, the Prof Attahiru Jega-led Governing Council constituted a committee on staff allowances with the mandate of determining the rates at which the different earned allowances should be paid to the staff of the institution.
The statement read in part, “The committee, after consulting resource persons outside the university and meeting with trade unions in the university, concluded its assignment and submitted its report in November 2018. In its report, the committee did not only propose rates for the different earned allowances in the PLASU Regulations, but also submitted financial claims from all staff members of the university based on the proposed rates.
“The Governing Council, on November 14, 2018, approved both the rates and the total financial implication for paying the earned allowances. Thereafter, the total financial implication was also approved by the state House of Assembly as part of the 2019 budget and subsequent ones.
“Having painstakingly followed all due process and secured all the necessary approvals for the payment of its own share of the earned allowances, SSANU made numerous demands on the Lalong administration to release its own share, which amounted to a total of N310m for the period 2010 to 2020.
“It is disheartening to note, however, that from 2019 to date, the Lalong administration, which prides itself as a labour-friendly government, has not released a single kobo for the payment of the arrears of earned allowances to the PLASU senior staff.”
The statement, which expressed disappointment at the attitude of the government towards the workers, added, “We wish to call upon well-meaning people of Plateau State and members of the Northern Governors Forum (of which our governor is chair) to prevail on Governor Lalong to redeem his good name and to set a good example for members of the Northern Governors Forum by paying our hard-earned arrears of earned allowances, just as many of his counterparts have done.
“We wish to state clearly that as long as our legitimate and hard-earned allowances are not paid, our indefinite strike action, which commenced on December 21, 2021, will not be suspended.”
When contacted on the matter, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dan Manjang, referred our correspondent to the Head of Service, Sunday Hyat, whose office he said was responsible for handling the industrial dispute.
However, several calls put across to the HoS were unanswered.
Also, a text message sent to his mobile telephone on what his office was doing to resolve the industrial action which had yet to be answered as of the time of filing this report.