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SPN backs Oyo tertiary institutions workers’ strike

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By Ojo Peter, Ibadan

The Socialist Party of Nigeria, (SPN), Oyo State chapter has expressed its support for the ongoing indefinite strike action embarked upon by workers in the Oyo state-owned tertiary institutions of learning under the umbrella body of the Joint Action Committee (JAC).

According to a statement issued by the SPN state Secretary, Comrade Ayodeji Adigun, members of various affiliate unions and associations of JAC were compelled to embark on the said strike after the expiration of both the seven and three-day ultimatums issued to the state government and governing councils of respective institutions on February 15 and 24, 2021 respectively to demand the payment of 11-month minimum wage arrears and an end to the continuous operation of a consultant alleged to have been imposed on the tertiary institutions in the state by Governor Seyi Makinde-led government.

SPN, in the statement, demands immediate payment of backlog of minimum wage arrears. The statement reads: “The operation and imposition of Platinum Consultant as the authorizing body for every spending including the control and management of revenues at the disposal of all the tertiary institutions in the state has been described by the striking workers as a practice that is alien to the law that established the tertiary institutions. Some of other issues known to be associated with activities of the Platinum Consultant include exploitation of students and the introduction of measures that are capable of subverting the sanity and smooth running of the Institutions, crippling the academic activities in the institutions and by implications, denying the teeming youths of the state the access to affordable and quality education if not nipped in the bud now.”

“Platinum Consultant has also been alleged of issuing misleading advice to the state government, something which the striking workers believe is responsible for the continuous refusal of Governor Seyi Makinde to give any concrete commitment towards the implementation of the agreement signed with the JAC and its affiliate unions on January 13th, 2021.”

“According to this agreement, the 11 months minimum wage arrears from January to November 2020 is expected to be defrayed in not more than three (3) instalments by the Governor Seyi Makinde-led government.”

“Almost three months after signing the agreement, the Governor Seyi Makinde-led government has failed to commence the implementation with obvious determination to force the responsibility of the defrayment of the new minimum wage arrears on respective Institution. SPN rejects this and urges the striking workers to remain steadfast and ensure that such an anti-people ploy is defeated.”

“Tertiary institutions are not ventures for generating internally generated revenue (IGR). It is the constitutional responsibility of the state government to ensure that all state-owned tertiary institutions are adequately and properly funded. Except the government is compelled to bear the responsibility of defraying the backlog of minimum wage arrears, the cost of the arrears will be offloaded on the shoulder of the mass of students and their poor parents by the administrators of the respective Institutions. This will no doubt increase the economic hardship which the working people are suffering from at this present time.”

“This is why SPN calls on mass of the working people in the state particularly the leadership of the two existing labour centres in the State; Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to lend support to these demands of striking workers with a view to prevail on Engr Seyi Makinde-led government to accede to their demands without further delay.”

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