The workers of D.S Adegbenro ICT Polytechnic, Itori-Ewekoro in Ogun State on Monday declared a strike action and chased out students of the institution from the classrooms.
The workers, acting under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics, said the decision to embark on the strike was taken during a joint congress held on the campus of the institution.
The workers vowed to continue the strike until the management of the polytechnic meets their demands, which include payment of their salary arrears and deductions, as well as the promotion of deserving staff of the institution.
They also called for the immediate resignation of the Rector, Prof Alfred Fatade and the Registrar, Adebayo Ogundimu.
The workers were armed with placards with various inscriptions, such as “Government should please sack the Rector and Registrar now for peace to reign in D.S Adegbenro ICT Polytechnic”, “Our taxes must be remitted with immediate effect”, “Enough is enough. Our registrar, Mr. Ogundimu Adebayo leave now”, “We don’t want convocation under this condition”, among others.
Addressing journalists, the chairman of ASUP in the polytechnic, Oyefusi Adebayo, who warned that the institution was on the verge of total collapse, urged the Federal Government to come to its aid.
Adebayo explained that the strike became necessary after the management of the polytechnic allegedly failed to fulfill the agreement reached in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two parties when government intervened in the crisis in 2019.
According to him, the management had been maltreating the staff through non-payment of salaries, non-remittance of pension arrears and allowances, among other things.
Corroborating the ASUP Chair, the Chairman of SSANIP, Muritala AbdulAzeez, accused the rector of allegedly planning to destroy the careers of the workers.
AbdulAzeez also accused both the rector and the registrar of misrepresenting the interests of the workers in their reports to the government.
He said, “Today, all the members of the staff of D.S Adegbenro ICT Polytechnic have taken a fundamental decision and we have embarked on a work-to-rule action. The lecturers will stop teaching and the non-teaching staff will stop working in their offices.
“We are determined to forge ahead with this struggle and to liberate our people because they have suffered so much.
“We want the rector and the registrar to resign their appointments immediately. If they fail to resign, the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun should sack them immediately.
In his reaction, the rector said the management had fulfilled 90 per cent of the demands of the workers.
He noted that the workers’ agitation was borne out of a hidden and selfish agenda.
Stressing that the management of the polytechnic was not aware of the strike, he vowed to take the necessary action against it.
He said, “The work-to-rule action is news to me. While they were busy protesting, we were discussing with the government. All their demands are on the same issues. Virtually, more than 90 per cent of their demands have been cleared. The only pending issue is on the remittance of pension deductions.
“The workers at D.S Adegbenro ICT have been paid their salaries for November and December, 2019. The files have been taken to the governor since last week Monday. What we can say is outstanding are the salaries for January 2020. It is when the students pay their fees that the institution will be able to pay the workers.
“Not all the unions are involved in the protest. The non-academic staff of the polytechnic did not support them. The leaders of ASUP and SSANIP in the institution they have a hidden agenda.”