MEMBERS of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), Obafemi Awolowo University, branch Ile-Ife, Osun State on Tuesday embarked on a day protest to press home their demands for improved condition of service, both at the national and local levels.
The protesters carried placards, demanding better conditions of service, like other bodies of workers in the nation’s universities, and shouting, “pay our 12 months arrears of monetization” and so on.
Though, the members of the union carried with them green leaves, symbolizing peaceful protest, headed straight to Obafemi Awolowo University Senate Building, where the Vice Chancellor’s office is situated, but were prevented from entering the VC’s ground floor office by the universities security personnel.
They later moved to the motion floor of the university, where they chanted songs to press home their demands.
The protesters were later addressed by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) of the university, Mrs Funmi Togun Bickersthet and the Registrar, Mr Ayo Ogunruku, who assured the workers of the university’s commitment to better services and improved welfare..
The Deputy CV (academics) urged the workers to pray for those in authority, especially the President of the nation, President Umar Musa Yar’Adua and his cabinet, as effectual prayer of the righteous, availed much.
She also urged them to align with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to realize their demands from the Federal the government.
Speaking on the issue pertaining to the welfare of the union members and the authority of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Bickersteth salary assured them that the six months arrears of its members paid into the university’s kitty by the Federal Government would be released to them, immediately the university had enough fund at its disposal.
She pledged the continuous support of the university’s management to the course of the union.
The Chairman of NASU, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Mr Bayo Aderounmu said the protest was in compliance with the order of National Executive Committee (NEC) of the union nation-wide.
He Stated Further that apart from the directive of the NEC committee of the union nationwide, the NASU branch of the university had their grievances with the authority of the institution by its refusal to pay them six months arrears, part of their emolument, paid into its (university’s) kitty since last year.
He also commented on the welfare of the retired members of the union and the delay in payment of their gratuities.
Aderounmi therefore, called on the authority of the institution to address the issues raised in their warning strike, bearing in mind that the students in the institution will soon commence their harmattan semester examination and if their demands are not given prompt attention, it may affect the students’ examination.
The protesters later dispatched while their warning strike affected some of the students, especially those who made use of the library, as some members of staff of the library hurried them out of the facility on the excuse that they were embarking on a warning strike.
Some of the students’, who spoke with OSUN DEFENDER expressed their displeasure on the industrial strike that is to be embarked upon by the Non-academic staff of the institution, as it may affect their harmattan semester examination.
By SOLA JACOBS