Academic activities have been crippled at Ebonyi State University (EBSU) following strike action embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ebonyi State University Chapter.
The group embarked on fresh strike last Friday to press down their demands for improved welfare from the school management.
In a visit to the permanent site of the institution, Ezzamgbo, on Monday, the school environment was very scanty as few students were seen walking about in the school premises discussing their fate as the lecturers were coming to school, but were not entering the classes to lecture the students.
The Chairman ASUU, EBSU Chapter, Dr Ifeanyi Igwenyi said the Union decided to embark on the strike because all efforts to make the school management to listen to its demands have proved abortive.
Dr Igwenyi said, “All the efforts we have been making to ensure that there is effective communication between ASUU and the management has not yielded fruit and so we decided to embark on what we call active non compliance.”
“Our work has so many facets. We render community services, we do research as well as teaching. So, we halt tools on teaching while we carry out our duties in the areas of research and community services, that is what we mean by active non compliance.”
Dr Igwenyi explained that the industrial action will continue until the management listens to the plights of the lecturers and address them.
He said, “On 4th of November last year we were called and told that because of paucity of funds in the university and need for accreditation, that staff salaries will not be paid. We frowned at it and stood our ground and salary was paid.
“Again on 5th December, a form was served tagged BVN verification form, the form lacked complements of government protocols. And what was demanded was our bank details and BVN numbers. The form also noted that salaries will not be paid to those who failed to comply. We enquired from the school management and they denied knowledge of it and the essence. So we asked our staff to stand down until we are sure of the source. They however paid December salaries despite the threats.”
“Unfortunately for some people that filled in error, they paid them and de-listed 792 people from the payroll who didn’t fill their details. Same thing happened in February. We have also been having other issues with management which they have refused to listen to which are also part of our grievances that led to the strike.”
“One of such issues is promotions, people are not promoted as at when due. Sometimes when one is promoted, one is promoted to what they called notional promoted. This means that you are promoted without any financial benefits attached to it till such a time they decide. In 2015/2016 which took effect in 2020 with 41 months arrears to be lost. So, nobody will talk about the arrears, you won’t be paid, you have lost that graciously to the university and this notional promotion is not part of our condition of service and regulation.
Mr. Igwenyi listed the demands of the ASUU to include, “Respect for University autonomy so that information needed from staff should be processed through the council and management, BVN verification should not form basis of payment of salaries.”
Other demands include: “immediate payment of salaries to all staff especially those who were de-listed from payroll for January 2020 salary, release of all outstanding promotions and appraisal result of past years and immediate commencement of 2018/2019 appraisal exercise.”
“We are also demanding the immediate payment of several years’ outstanding postgraduate honoraria. Recall that postgraduate students have consistently paid fees, payment of outstanding WASP Honoraria for four semesters, payment of earned academic allowance computed for 2009 to 2012 that has been submitted to management and payment of death benefits to families of dead colleagues.”
He maintained that unless the school management address their demands, lectures will not continue.