From: JUDEX OKORO, Calabar
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Calabar Zone, has decried the cuts in salaries of university staff, describing it as injustice and a move to bring the system to its knees.
The Union maintained that the ASUU- NEC meeting scheduled for March 26, in Yola, would be decisive as critical decisions would be taken to ensure that university education and past agreements entered into between them and the Federal Government are implemented.
The Calabar zone of ASUU consists of members in the University of Calabar, University of Uyo, Cross River University of Technology, Abia State University, Ebonyi State University and Akwa Ibom State University
In a joint press briefing addressed, on Monday, at the University of Calabar by the Zonal Coordinator, Prof Nsing Ogar, and other branch chairmen, including at Dr Tony Enyang, Dr Emmanuel Ettah, Dr Aniekan Brown, Arch Ochi Ejimofor, Dr Uche Onwe and Dr Imeh Okop of UNICAL, CRUTECH, UNIUYO, ABSU, EBSU and AKSU respectively, they disclosed that Federal Government has reduced their subventions to universities for the payment of personnel emoluments since December 2015.
They argued that this development has resulted in the incomplete payment of salaries , non-implementation of promotions as well as non-remittance of statutory deductions to unions, cooperative societies and creditor banks.
The unions further said that about 13 workers were alleged to have died in the University of Calabar and the University of Uyo in the last couple of months as a result of the agony of salary cuts
The Zonal Coordinator, Prof Nsing Ogar, explained that the short falls, which runs into hundreds of millions, vary from institution to institution, adding “that only fragments are paid staff with some universities paying between 80% and 90% since December 2015 to February 2017.
“And to show how insensitive the federal government is to the plight of workers in the academics, the government cut February salary by about 30%,” describing it further “as a determined onslaught to knock off the oxygen from the university system.”
On state universities, Ogar said: “The visitors have developed the unhealthy penchant of releasing grossly inadequate subventions resulting in the payment of only net salaries without the remittance of deductions to unions and cooperatives societies.”
He added that shortfall in the subventions was one of the issues that precipitated the nationwide warning strike by the union last November after 11 months of fruitless engagement with eh government.
Insisting that this has led to series of agitation, outrage and anger from members, he said “the union’s national Executive council, NEC, will not shirk in its historic and moral responsibilities of taking firm and decisive action if this unjust situation is not satisfactorily addressed before its meeting on March 25 and 26, 2017.”
Already, no fewer than 13 workers were alleged to have died in the University of Calabar and the University of Uyo in the last couple of months as a result of the agony of salary cuts