Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
Workers at the Federal Polytechnic, Ekeowe, Bayelsa have threatened to shut down the institution after last week’s protest over the alleged insensitivity of the Rector, Dr Agbabiaka Adegoke.
According to them, the non-callant attitude of the rector to staff welfare issues has led to shortfalls in expected salary increments which creates a sense of stagnation and a resultant nosedive of workers’ morale.
The joint workers’ union in the polytechnic had on July 4 held a peaceful protest and lamented that staff welfare was not on the priority list of the current rector when compared to past administrators of the tertiary institution.
Mr Etebu Ebifiye, Chairman of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) chapters at Federal Polytechnic said in an update on Monday that one week after the protest, there was no meaningful dialogue between the labour and management.
Ebifiye explained that the unions would have no other option than to embark on industrial action and shut down all activities of the Polytechnic following the failure of the Rector to respond to demands.
“The joint union of academic and non-academic staff had organised a peaceful protest to draw attention to the several issues faced by staff one week ago and up until now, nothing has changed.
“The principal officers told us that the Rector was not in town.
“They assured us that our grievances were being addressed and made pledges to brief the Rector and the promises which compelled us to end the protest turned out to be false.
“We subsequently consulted and came up with a position that we shall proceed on strike without further notice,” Ebifiye said.
Also, Mrs. Ebikaboere Torulagha, Chairperson, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP), Federal Polytechnic Ekeowe chapter said that they were awaiting the response of management.
She said that the unions have scheduled a meeting to review the situation and strategy for the next line of action.
However, when contacted by telephone for a reaction on the labour dispute, Adegoke said he was too busy and advised the reporter to take his investigations to the Ministries of Education and Finance.