By Emem Idio
WHILE the industrial action embarked upon by the national body of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU is yet to be resolved, the Niger Delta University, NDU branch of ASUU, has threatened that it may embark on yet another industrial action immediately after the national strike is suspended if the Bayelsa State government fails to resolve all pending issues with the union.
Chairman of ASUU-NDU branch, Dr. Tonbara Kingdom, who disclosed this during a media briefing held at the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, yesterday, said the unresolved issues include, “non-implementation of promotion between 2015 to 2019, non-payment of promotion arrears, non-payment of annual increment since 2015 till date, non-payment of fellowship grants for over 10 years, non-payment of pension since 2018 till date, and lack of accommodation for lecturers within the university community.”
According to Dr. Kingdom, who was flanked by the ASUU-NDU branch Secretary, Dr Ebi Baraka and other executives, the union has employed several ways to get the attention of the state government including writing several letters and sending traditional rulers to meet with government officials but to no avail.
The NDU-ASUU chairperson, who lamented that the academic staff of the state-owned university were getting frustrated and tired with the government, said they have not been benefiting from the new minimum wage as they have been receiving the same salary since 2009.
He said:” We want to call on the Bayelsa State government to quickly resolve the pending and nagging issues of poor funding and staff welfare for the Niger Delta University to avert industrial crisis immediately the national ASUU strike is suspended.
“We have written several letters and they have not invited us, we are also using political solutions, we have been calling trade rulers and politicians who are in government to assist us in meeting and discussing with those who are concerned to see how we avert what is coming, we don’t want a situation where after the federal government has solved the problems of our union at the national level we come back for another strike, it is something we can avoid if the government is proactive.
“We have been showing so much understanding but the government is not reciprocating. Our members are getting frustrated and tired and are saying government should use this opportunity to resolve these issues before the national strike is suspended.
The salary we are earning is the salary we have been earning since 2009, all the so-called salary increment and minimum wage did not affect our salary, annual increment and promotion we did not benefit, among others.”