From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
Workers of four state owned tertiary institutions in Edo have threatened to resume their suspended industrial action this month, over the non-payment of salaries owed them by the state government, in addition to the call for the infrastructural upgrading of the institutions.
The workers, under the Coalition of Unions of State Owned Tertiary Institutions, had on December 1, suspended their indefinite strike which grounded activities in the affected institutions for over three months, in order to continue discussions with the state government.
The institutions are the College of Education, Igueben; College of Education, Ekhiadolor, College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi and Institute of Management and Technology, Usen.
It was also learnt that over 30 staff of IMT, Usen, had been sacked by the management of the institution as a result of their involvement in the suspended strike.
The President of the coalition, Fred Omonuwa, told journalists yesterday that the workers were sacked following a directive from the state government.
Although the state government had on December 23 announced that it had updated the salaries of workers in the state to December, the employees of the four institutions disclosed that they were yet to receive their October salaries.
Omonuwa, noted that despite the promise by the state government to provide certain grants to cover the payment of salaries, none of the affected schools had been paid.
The president, who stated that the workers were yet come to terms on why their salaries were not paid, vowed that the unions would resume industrial action in January, if the government continued to delay on its promise.
Omonuwa said, “The overnor brought N40 million to Ekiadolor, N20 million to Igueben, N21 million to Usen and N8 million to Iguoriakhi. But as we speak, we are the only people in Edo State that didn’t receive salaries this December.
“We may resume our suspended strike action from January because government is not sincere and they have breached the gentleman agreement that we had with them.”
Efforts to reach the Commissioner for Higher Education, Washington Osifo, were unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report.