Three workers’ unions at Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, began an indefinite strike, on Thursday, over unpaid wages.
They are the university’s chapter of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Other Associated Institutions (NASU), and the National Association of Academic Technologists.
The striking workers locked all entrances to the school, paralysing activities at the institution, which is owned by the Ebonyi State Government.
The chairperson of SSANU, Elias Odigbo, said the indefinite strike was to protest against the non-payment of three months’ salaries. According to him, the last time the varsity paid salaries was in February.
Odigbo said, “We also want the government to actualise our promotion since 2016. Since 2016 no promotion has been made, especially for non-academic staff.
“Another reason is that during the COVID-19 lockdown, there were 20 per cent deductions from our salaries with promises to refund the deductions. The management refunded only five months’ deductions up till now.
“We have 10 months of deductions left, and we have been begging for a refund to no avail. We also need conversion of staff for those who have acquired additional qualifications.
“We are not fighting the government or the school management. All we are asking for is our rights. The workers need their wages to work diligently.”
The NASU chairperson, Nwovu Origbo, urged the state government to pay the outstanding three months’ salaries and refund the 20 per cent of COVID-19 deductions.
He said, “We are not going to call off the strike until all our demands are met. We are not beggars but workers.”
The state commissioner for education, Sunday Nwangele, promised to address a news conference on Friday.