News Column

Fresh Crisis Brews in Oko Poly As Lecturers, Management Bicker Over Salary Arrears, Others

August 21, 2014

Bertram Nwannekanma

THE fragile peace in the Federal Polytechnic Oko, in Orumba North Council Area of Anambra State appears threatened following an ultimatum issued last week by the institution's chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, (ASUP), against the Prof Godwin Onu-led management.

The dust generated by the reappointment of Prof. Onu, as the rector of the institution for a second term, drew the angst of a section of the school's host community pitching them against the school authority.

However, the school's ASUP chapter led by Dr. Onyeka Uwakwe has threatened to down tools if management of the polytechnic refuses to accede to its five-point demand.

The demands include the payment of one month outstanding salary arrears, release of the arrears of check-off dues of to the Oko Micro Finance Bank Ltd, withdrawal of the suspension of Nwankwo Chukwudi of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, withdrawal of a query issued its publicity secretary, Mr. Okon, I.F as well as the withdrawal of the suspension of Nwanmuo Ike, a lecturer in the Department of Business Administration and Management.

In a communiquÉ issued after its recent congress, and made available to The Guardian yesterday, the union gave the institution 48 hours within which to meet their demands to avoid immediate steps that might affect industrial harmony and academic activities in the institution.

According to the communiquÉ signed by Uwakwe, and ASUP's secretary, Lady Ogugua Ochuba, and addressed to the rector the union noted that two neighbouring federal polytechnics have all fully paid their workers.

The lecturers regretted that the continued delay in payment of the salary arrears was inconsistent with the spirit of the suspension of the long strike and was causing untold hardships to the lecturers and their families.

But the institution's Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Obini Onuchukwu, in reaction to the ultimatum said, the institution, which was just coming out of a protracted crisis has fulfilled all its salary obligations apart from the March salary.

According to him, the rector is a very humane person and union friendly and will not do anything to jeopardise the interest of the lecturers, and as such will pay the arrears along side the August salary.

On the ASUP's check off dues, Onuchukwu said the institution decided to withhold the money in order to forestall further crisis following disagreements arising from factions in the union bordering on the expiration of Dr. Uwakwe's tenure as the chairman of the union.

According to him, since a faction has already approached a law court, the institution being a law-abiding one prefers to await the pronouncement of the court on the matter.

On the suspension of Nwankwo and Nwamuo, Onuchukwu said, they were suspended for failing to answer a query for leading a protest against the institution, scandalising the integrity of the governing council as well as portraying the image of the institution in a very terrible light.

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Source: AllAfrica

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