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– Says Agreement Was Signed Under Duress

Following the resolutions reached at a meeting of the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Head of Civil Service with the Management of Akwa Ibom State University and labour unions on Monday 4th January, the Academic Staff Union of the school has given government one month ultimatum to defray backlog of arrears or down tools.

This was the position of Academic Staff Union of Universities-Akwa Ibom State University, ASSU-AKSU chapter at a congress held on Wednesday 6 January at the main campus, Ikot Akpaden.

The resolutions signed by the chairperson ASUU-AKSU Comrade Prof. Otoabasi Akpan and the Acting Secretary Comrade Dr. Etanguno Owowo, described the agreement of 4th January as unpopular based on the manner in which the ASUU-AKSU representative appended his signature under duress without recourse to the Congress.

The union called for immediate payment of three (3) months backlog of 25% salary arrears to members of the Union as resolved in the 4th January, 2021 meeting.

“In addition to immediate payment of three (3) months backlog of 25% salary arrears to members of the Union as resolved in the 4th January, 2021 meeting, congress demands that a timeframe not exceeding 31st January, 2021 for the payment of the remaining batches of salary arrears of eight (8) months.

“In addition to commencing full salary payment effective from January 2021, Congress demands that our 2020 Leave Grant be paid forthwith in line with our approved salary scale on or before 31st January, 2021.

“Congress fully supports the resolution to constitute a Visitation Panel by the Visitor to the University, His Excellency, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State within one month, as agreed.

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“Congress further demands that the following specific issues be addressed by the Visitation Panel to be constituted: Modalities developed for re-commencing payment within the first quarter of 2021 of the fifteen (15) months backlog of salary arrears to members of the Union who are among the ‘279’ group employed in 2014; commencement of proper funding of the University at not less than 2% Monthly Statutory Allocation (at first charge), in line with the AKSU Law of 2009; a roadmap developed for infrastructural development of the University.

“The Union expects Government to faithfully implement the above in addition to all agreements earlier reached and signed with ASUU-AKSU in 2015. Therefore, an Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC),comprising AKSU Management, Government Representatives and Representatives of the Labour Unions in AKSU should be constituted to ensure full compliance of the agreements.”

“Congress further resolves that failure to implement the above shall result in the Union lifting the suspension on industrial action without notice.”

Although ASUU-AKSU congress commended the Akwa Ibom State government for swiftly convening a meeting of stakeholders on Monday, 4th January, 2021 with a view to resolving the industrial action, the union said lecturers’ compassion for the students played a greater role to calling off the strike.

It can be recalled that the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Akwa Ibom State University Branch (ASUU-AKSU) on Monday 4th January, 2021 served notice to commence industrial action after the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum issued on 14th December, 2020 to the Management of Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU), the Governing Council of the University and the Government of Akwa Ibom State.

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