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DELSU Unions Threatens Industrial Strike Over Unpaid Salaries, Arrears

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian voice, Asaba
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Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, Staff Unions; Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologist (NATT) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) has given a one week ultimatum to the state university and the State Government to pay all owed salaries and arrears failing to do so, the industrial harmony being enjoyed in the university would be jeopardized.

Addressing a joint press conference with the unions in Abraka, the ASUU Chairman, Delta State chapter, Prof. Abel Diapkaromre, said the usual peaceful atmosphere in the university has been gradually thrown into jeopardy and pathetic state as a result of the state governments’ refusal to pay the staff salaries of May and June, 2016, in addition to the non-payment to the staff promoted in 2014 and 2015.

He said, “Despite the refusal to pay salaries, staff of the university are still carrying out their responsibilities, though this may be gradually grinding to a halt. This is because of the dwindling or near total non-availability of financial resources at the disposal of staff. At present, staff are no longer able to effectively attend to their duties happily because the job motivation is now very low because of the deprivation of their salaries”.

“It should be noted that there are no sufficient accommodations of the staff on campus, thus many of them travel long distances to work daily. Being a multi-campus institution, DESUL lecturers shuttles between Abraka, Asaba and Oleh campuses and the university teaching hospital at Oghara to attend to their day-to-day activities. All these activities require money which sadly is no longer available.”

Diapkaromre warned that the non-payment of salaries and arrears was capable of disrupting the forthcoming examination as the staff had no place to borrow money to carry out their primary assignment, while expressing sadness that the staff of the university are singled out for this deliberate financial strangulation.

The ASUU scribe observed that in other climes university workers are treated with utmost care and tenderness, but wondered why this was not experienced by staff of the delta state university, asserting that, this unfortunate trend needed to be changed in order to get the best job motivation and performance for staff of the institution.

The ASUU boss hinted that the delay in payment of salaries could lead to brain drain as many lecturers and other workers have threatened to relocate to universities abroad in search of conducive working conditions, stating that, “many staff in the institution are already being lured to several universities outside the country, especially Southern African countries of South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland amongst others.”

Diapkaromre also disclosed that the participation of staff in the general university examination slated for next week could no longer be guaranteed by the unions as well as members going to work from next week, if salaries are not paid within stipulated period.

He added that, “we wish categorically state that in the event of members inability to participate in the examination or to discharge their responsibilities, the unions will protect their members against any attempt by either the university administration or government to prefer charges against them for dereliction of duty because nobody can work on an empty stomach and the Bible enjoins the employer to pay employees because the labourer deserves his wages.”

The unions, therefore, called on the state government and the delta state university to pay all owed salaries and the arrears within the next one week or they would have no any other option than to resort to what they described as PLAN B