ASUU-AAU Ekpoma protests proposed cut in staff salaries

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From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ambrose Alli University, (AAU) Ekpoma chapter, have staged a protest against the university administration over its proposal to implement a cut in staff salaries.

After the congress of the union which was held on the main campus of the university, the congress marched to the Office of the Acting Vice-Chancellor to register their protest.

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The protesting lecturers alleged that the university administration was directed by the Special Intervention Team (SIT) of the University to implement a proposed cut in the salaries of staff at the university.

According to the lecturers, the proposed pay cut was designed to reduce the overall wage bill the University has been grappling with in the regular payment of monthly emoluments of staff.

They also reasoned that since the SIT is unable to meet the mandate of assisting the Edo State Government to generate funds for the University outside the source(s) from government, they (SIT) feel that reducing the wage bill by downward review of allowances in staff emoluments would pacify government and possibly make them attractive or relevant in terms of renewal of their appointment which falls due on June 4.

While condemning the alleged plan by the university administration to cut the salaries of staff, the Congress of the Union resolved to resist the implementation of the pay cut proposal.

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The resolution of congress was hinged on the fact that the basic salary and allowances in the emoluments of staff were products of collective bargaining between the labour unions and government/the university administration and therefore, cannot be altered unilaterally by any of the parties to the agreement.

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The union threatened that if the pay cut is implemented, it will continue with the local strike approved for the branch on February 14 by the national body of the Union after the suspension of the national strike.

The university administration was implored by the Union to resolve the issues of outstanding emoluments (salaries, check-off dues and other deductions) of staff for nineteen (19) months instead of further complicating the salary crisis in the University by unjustifiable pay cut plan.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor of AAU, Ekpoma, Prof Asowman Sonnie Adagbonyin, addressed the protesters on behalf of the University Administration and sued for peace.

He denied knowledge of the proposal for a cut in staff salaries and told the protesters that the said pay cut would not be implemented, describing it as a rumour.

Notwithstanding, the union used the opportunity to request the Acting Vice-Chancellor to ensure that the “responsibility allowances” for Deans, Directors, Heads of Department/Units, Examination Officers, etc, were unilaterally stopped by the university’s SIT are reinstated.

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