Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo, Ohaji was on Monday locked down as the three trade Unions in the Institution, namely Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics ASUP, Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics SSANP, embarked one week warning strike.
When Nigeria Newspoint visited the polytechnic campus on Monday it was observed that both academic and administrative activities were at lowest ebb as only a handful of vehicles and students were seen on campus.
Also, the leadership of the striking unions supported by Sister Unions fro the Federal University of Technology, Owerri FUTO, State Universal Basic Education Board SUBEB, Federal Polytechnic Nekede and Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education also in Owerri were seen at the campus gate to enforce compliance with the strike action by members of the three Unions.
According to a joint statement issued by the Unions a copy of which was availed Nigeria Newspoint the had stated that on-going strike was the last option left for them to compel the institution’s management to act on their six point demand after every other option had failed to yield result.
In the letter addressed to the rector of the school Rev. Fr. Wence Madu and signed by the chairmen and secretaries of the Unions Echeta Desmond, Frank Ohagwam and Bede Asika ASUP, NASU and SSANIP Chairmen and Victor Ehirim, Chibuzor Nwoga and Francis Madu Secretaries in the same order, the bodies itemized the contentious issues that necessitated the action while at the same time stressing their readiness for further dialogue.
The Unions revealed that they were on strike to protest the non-payment of salary for the months of April and May 2016; non-implementation of monetization, promotions, promotions arrears and proper placement of staff; the termination of appointments, downgrading of workers and declaration of redundancy contrary to government approval that they should be part of the review process.
Others are refusal to lay off contract, part-time and temporary staff who are still on the payroll contrary to government directive; verification of those employed since 2004 and immediate stoppage of employment which the management has continued to do despite unimaginable problems associated with payment of staff salary.
Chairman of ASUP Echeta Desmond who led the joint monitoring and compliance team at the Institution’s gate told our reporter that they are ready to go back to work the moment the school management addresses their grievances.
Also speaking a tricycle keke operator who plies inside the institution bemoaned the negative effect of the strike on both academic and business activities within and inside the campus and prayed for a quick resolution.
But it seems his prayer may not be answered quickly following indications that the dialogue between the management and the Unions that Monday could not put an end to the logjam.
When contacted however, the institution’s Public Relations Officer PRO, Mr. Darlington Oparaocha disclosed that management has moved to end the strike following that termed a family meeting between the Unions and management and council.
Mr. Oparaocha said the parley presided by chairman of council Prince Charles Amadi resolved most of the contentious issues at stake while machinery was put in motion to resolve outstanding issues.
He expressed confidence that the unions will soon call off the strike.