Taraba ASUU declares indefinite strike

The Taraba State University chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has declared a total, comprehensive and indefinite strike action to press home their demands.

According to ASUU Chairman, Samuel Shitaa, the union’s demands include the non-availability of the pension scheme, earned academic allowances, perimeter fencing among several others in the institution.

The declaration of the strike is coming a few days after the state government paid off the four months’ salary arrears owed academic staff of the institution.

“The outstanding salaries are not the issues in contention, because we are agitating for our rights. One of our issues on the ground is that of the pension scheme, which the institution has no arrangement to that effect,” he said.

“On the issue of earned academic allowances, it has not been attended to since 2013. We mentioned the issue of perimeter fence and they said they have started, but from what we have since no significant progress made so far.

“I want you all to understand that the strike that has been declared is not only the branch that is in control of the strike, this is because the procedure has been followed with the national ASUU stepping in to interact and see progress in terms of commitment, but it has failed,” he added.

But the Vice-Chancellor of Taraba State University, Vincent Ado-Tenebe, disagreed with the ASUU’s chairman, claiming the union’s demands have been met.

Ado-Tenebe expressed shock over their strike action despite a series of meetings with the union to find a lasting solution to their demands.

“What they are supposed to say correctly should have been that what they are having is not enough and I can tell you that anywhere in the world, there is no educational institution that will tell that they have 100 per cent of the funding that they require,” he said.

“Having a strike all the time is not the best way to solve our problems. We have funding to a percentage, even though it is not 100%, but to say that the government is insensitive and not doing anything is totally wrong.

“What they are talking about is the contributory insurance scheme, which is a new law in the country and as I speak to you, I will like to remind you that no ministry, department, parastatal or agency in Taraba has started that scheme yet.

“Staff of the university have been demanding that they want to start the pension scheme, I got an approval for commencement, yet none of them could open a pension account or get pension administrators for management to utilize, how then can we make the payment without any account to pay into?” he added.

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