Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri
Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, on Tuesday grounded academic and non-academic activities on the campus.
The workers said they were joining the nationwide strike embarked on by their colleagues in other universities.
Our correspondent learnt that the downing of tools followed the federal government’s handling of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, the sharing formula of the N40 billion earned academic allowances and the non-payment of arrears of the new minimum wage.
The gates of the institution’s Senate Building were locked when our correspondent visited the campus.
It was also observed that various units in the University, such as exams and records, bursary, registry, estate and works, Library, ICT, physical planning, FUTO staff schools and even security were locked.
Though our correspondent saw some students writing exams, it was gathered those living in school hostels were not finding it easy as there were no workers to pump water and give them electricity.
The monitoring team of the Joint Action Committee which comprised the SSANU and the NASU of FUTO led by JAC and SSANU Chairman, Uchenna Nwokeji described the compliance with the strike action as total.
He said, “This strike is going well in FUTO. As you can see, the Senate Building is shut. FUTO is in support of this strike wholeheartedly. There is no water in the hostels because our people are not working.
“However, we are pained that this is going to affect our children again. We don’t want our children to remain at home. But we can’t help it because most of our union members have not been paid for months because of the IPPIS challenge.
“We plead with the federal government to have mercy and give our union our earned allowance, pay us minimum wage arrears and sort out the IPPIS challenge as well as fulfil the 2009 agreement.”