Striking workers not facing reality -FUTA VC


Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure in Ondo State, Prof. Biyi Daramola, has shed light on why non-academic staff of the institution are currently on strike, saying the industrial action was borne out of their failure to embrace reality.
Daramola said a decision by the Federal Government to discontinue the payment of primary school teachers in the university system was the bone of contention, adding that all his efforts to find a home-grown solution to the problem were being frustrated by some union members in the university.
“The Federal Government brought out a circular. It was actually an old circular brought up as a fresh circular; that come January 2016, the salaries of primary and secondary school teachers in the university system will no longer be part of the personnel grant of the university. The implication of this is that every school will have to stay on its own steam. Government was only interested in financing the personnel grants of universities alone.
“When that circular came early in the year, around April, I went for the end of the year programme of the primary school, and I told the primary school teachers that we got that circular and that they needed to work with their national office, to persuade the government to reverse the decision.
“At the level of committee of vicechancellors, we also wrote to government, reminding them of the government agreements with the unions, especially ASUU, in 2009. In the agreement, there was the clause that government would be financing free education for the children of the university staff members. We never got a response from government on that,” Daramola said.
According to the FUTA vice chancellor, he and the university’s Governing Council then worked out an arrangement to disengage the primary school teachers, privatise the school and requested the teachers to re-apply for their jobs, which they failed to do.
He said the truth was that technically and legally speaking, the agreement to fund the universities’ primary schools, reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities in 2009, lapsed in 2012 and had not been renewed ever since. Daramola said stakeholders in the society, including the Akure monarch, Oba Aladetoyinbo; the Anglican Bishop of Akure, and Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, had waded in to no avail.
He said it was in the process that some of the union leaders dragged him before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which exonerated him after thorough investigations.