The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, on Tuesday began an indefinite strike over alleged plans to sack the workforce of the institution to pave way for employment of staff for the newly-established university.
The National University Commission, NUC, recently approved the conversion of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic to University, and is expected to commence operations in September this year.
However, as part of measures to begin operations, the chairman of the transition committee, Peter Okebukola, was said to have invited the leadership of ASUP to a meeting on Monday where he allegedly ordered all staff to resign and re-apply for the university jobs.
An irate union in reaction called for an emergency meeting on Tuesday. At the meeting, the teachers vowed to resist the move.
The union is also angry that a member of the transition committee, Ebenezer Nkom, on a radio programme, declared that all the workers would be relocated to a newly-established polytechnic in Ipokia.
Speaking in an interview after emergency congress, the chairman of the academic staff union, Kola Abiola, explained that they would resist the impending action.
“As stakeholders, there is an adage which says, ‘you can’t shave a man’s head in his absence.’ Our hair is being shaved in our absence. Some people the governor gathered as transition committee have decided to do what they feel like doing without considering the plight of the people in the system and that was not the intention of the government,” he said.
“Professor Okebukola has said that we are all going to reapply again and one of the members of the committee, Ebenezer Nkom said on air that as from July 3, 2017, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic has ceased to exist, meaning that we don’t have jobs and we don’t have students again and that is what we don’t understand.”
The union is also alleging that Mr. Okebukola called them “road side” teachers and told the chairman to shut up at a meeting held to find a solution to the crisis.
It added that the committee members were not welcome henceforth at the school premises.
Mr. Okebukola denied the allegations, saying no concrete resolutions had been reached on the matters raised.
He said the committee would meet Wednesday to decide on the steps to take to douse tension.
Mr. Okebukola said he would ensure no member of the staff was laid off as a result of the changes soon to be effected in the administration of the school.
“They are just speculating. It is at tomorrow’s meeting that some committees will present their reports after which we are meeting all staff tomorrow and then we will decide on what to do. They are only being preemptive and that is quite unfortunate,” Mr. Okebukola explained.
“I have met the Chairman of the Union and I have assured them that nobody will suffer any job loss, as far as I am still a member of the committee and that I will never compromise on the standard NUC expect for a staff in a University. I am assuring them of smooth transition. It will be glorious and we are all going to smile,” Mr. Okebukola added.