Academic activities were grounded at the University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED) in Ondo City, Ondo State on Wednesday after a protest by staff unions over the non-implementation of minimum wage and N35,000 wage award.
The workers who displayed placards with various inscriptions appealed to Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa to come to their aid.
The unions involved in the protest were the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Unions and Allied Educational Institutions (NASU), and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
The protesting workers marched on the streets chanting solidarity songs.
They lamented that they had not been paid the 2019 minimum wage as well as 23% wage for all categories of workers, which had also not been paid to them despite being paid and implemented to other categories of workers.
A video of the protest seen by SaharaReporters shows the workers displaying placards with various inscriptions including “Pay our wage award of N35,000” and “UNMED workers are suffering.”
The leader of the protesters told journalists that their demand was their right.
He said, “We cannot be intimidated. It is our N35,000 wage award we are asking for. We haven’t asked for too much and it is now paid in three tranches – that means we are asking for N105,000. It is our right and it has been paid to other categories of workers.
“Civil servants in the core ministries have been paid; teachers have been paid at all levels – both primary and secondary school teachers. The local government staff have been paid. It is only a tertiary institution that is marginalized.”
“What have we done?” he asked, adding, “Your vehicles and bikes you bring to offices, are you burning water inside them?” The workers shouted, “No!”.
He continued, “Do you have a tree where you pluck money? We are hungry. We are tired. We cannot eat well. No libido in our rooms again. When our wives asked for money, we put up anger.
“They removed fuel subsidy and gave palliative to other categories of workers and university workers were excluded. What have we done? We want them to forgive us if we have wronged them. Forgive us and pay us our N105,000. We know that our governor is a listening governor, he is a father.
“It is not limited to the N35,000 wage award as a result of the removal of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidy. What of the 2019 minimum wage? It has not been implemented. It has been implemented for another category of workers but they excluded tertiary institution workers.”
“Please, our people governor, forgive us. Have mercy on us,” he appealed.
“We are university workers and not slaves on our land, so we call on Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa to intervene on these issues as a matter of urgency.”