The Committee of Unions of Tertiary Institutions (CUTI) of the Colleges of Education in Kwara has rejected government’s order for its members to return to work before they could negotiate.
CUTI Chairman, Malam Shehu Sanni, told newsmen on Sunday in Ilorin that members of the unions would not return to work until the state government acceded to all their demands.
“Both academic and non-academic members of staff of the three government-owned Colleges of Education in the state have resolved to continue with the strike,’’ he said.
The CUTI called out its members for the strike on Monday, April 7, based on a seven-point demand tabled before the state government.
Some of the workers’ demands are non-payment of salaries and allowances and poor infrastructure in the institutions.
Sanni said CUTI did not trust the state government, and had therefore resolved that its workers should ignore the directive to return to work as a condition to enter into dialogue.
“We called a meeting of the congress on Friday, where it was agreed that we will not return to work until all the issues which led to our agitation are resolved,” he said.
Sanni said the state government’s Head of Service had earlier told the striking lecturers that their issues would be looked into.
He said the register the state government brought for its members to sign to indicate their readiness to return to work had also been ignored as none of them signed it.
The committee chairman said the strike had no political undertone and was “purely industrial dispute with the authority of the college and state government”.
Sanni however expressed concern that there was the likelihood of some of the workers losing their jobs when they resume work, while some might be posted to primary schools.
In his reaction, Dr Isiaka Opobiyi, the Provost, College of Education, Ilorin, appealed to the striking lecturers to return to work in the interest of the students, parents and the college.
He also appealed to the union officials to “allow reason to prevail and return to work for negotiation to commence’’.
Opobiyi said the Committee of Provosts had met with the leadership of the unions and had appealed to it to call off the strike, but that it had been adamant.
The provost said the strike was illegal in the first instance as there was no notice of industrial dispute before the lecturers embarked on the strike.
He nonetheless appealed to the lecturers not to allow the ongoing strike affect the college’s Sandwich programme, from where it makes some revenue.
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