From Osakhare Erese Asaba
Following the indefinite strike action embarked upon the Joint Action Committee (JAC), of the Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, six weeks ago, economic activities have been paralyzed.
The union which forms JAC are Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
JAC had on December 4, 2017, embarked on a nationwide strike across all the public universities branches, with a view to press home their demands to the Federal Government, but despite series of meetings with the Federal Government, it has yet to resolve contending issues between it and the government which has endeared continuity in the industrial action.
It was learnt that the strike was necessitated by the Federal Government’s alleged inability to clarify the criteria for the disbursement of the N23 billion released by the Federal Government to the university unions for Earned Allowances with 89 percent allocated to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), while only 11 percent was allocated to SSANU, NASU and NAAT.
Investigation reveals that economic activities have come to a screening halt in Abraka, the host community of the DELSU in view of the strike action and it has continued to deepen.
Our reporter, who visited sites one, Two and Three of the universities over the week, observed that the offices belonging to the three unions (SSANU, NASU and NAAT) are still currently under lock and key and looking deserted, apart from the management’s offices and academic staff (lecturers).
Although, students and lecturers are going about their activities quietly, there seems to be an air of silence in the university community to show that there is industrial action in the town as some businesses, specifically in the sites, especially those whose businesses thrived on the patronage of JAC members, are experiencing low patronage.
Investigation revealed that such businesses include food vendors and business centre operators, among others who are at the receiving end of the industrial action.
A food vendor in Site Three at the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, who simply gave her name as Stella Oboru, lamented the poor sales they have been recording since the strike got under way in December, 2017.
She said: “Business has continued to worsen as each day passes by. We are running at a loss in most cases because our customers are on strike, even though we have students and lecturers.
“Personally, most of my customers are non-academic staff; so, I am sure you understand the perspective I am speaking from. We hope that government will intervene in this strike so as revive our businesses”.
However, two members of the union, who did not want their names in the print told journalists that the strike action will continue until issues surrounding them are resolved.