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Minimum Wage: Workers in LASU, LASPOTECH, other Lagos tertiary institutions protest

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Members of various workers’ unions across the tertiary institutions in Lagos State including the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Lagos State University (LASU), Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), among others, on Monday disrupted resumption activities on the various campuses.

The workers, under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP) and the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), among others, protested the non-implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage.

According to the protesting workers, while the government has implemented the minimum wage for other workers in the state, the rationale for leaving out the tertiary educational institutions’ workers could not be fathomed.

At LASU, the workers blocked the university’s entrance gates leaving the vice-chancellor, Olanrewaju Fagbohun, other management staff and returning students stranded.

As of 11a.m., efforts to persuade the workers to open the gates fell into deaf ears as they insisted that they had given enough notices to the government.

Though at LASPOTECH, the workers did not block the gates, they barred their members from resuming work, saying their action was backed by the state’s Joint Action Committee (JAC) on labour matters, and both the state and national leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

Speaking on the phone with PREMIUM TIMES, the chairman of SSANIP on the campus, Seye Ero-Philips, said apart from the protest against minimum wage, the union was also agitating against other domestic issues in the school.

“We want the white paper on the visitation panel report earlier submitted to Mr. Governor to be released. Workers are still being humiliated by the incumbent administration on the campus, and promotions are being carried without the implementation of Consolidated Tertiary Institution Salary Structure (CONTISS 16),” Mr Ero-Philips said.

Also speaking, the vice-chairman of the school’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Olugbenga Abdulsalaam, noted that the message is simply to let the government know that workers are united against the decision to exclude them in the minimum wage implementation.

“We met with our governing council and the management over this matter, and we have stated our position clearly,” Mr Abdulsalaam said on the phone.

NLC reacts

The chairman of the Lagos State chapter of NLC, Olufunmilayo Sesi-Akinsanmi, told our reporter on the phone, that the union took part at the various meetings held between the government and the workers’ unions towards addressing the matter, but that there was no headway.

“On September 8, the special adviser on Labour to the governor held a meeting with the unions and NLC was in attendance. Unfortunately, the government representative only appealed for understanding without acceding the workers’ request for a written agreement.”

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She said the union is in support of the workers’ decision and that the national leadership of NLC also sanctioned it.

I’m unaware of any protest – SA

Meanwhile, when called on the phone, the special adviser on labour matters to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Babatunde Williams, said he was unaware of any protest.

“I’m not aware of any protest. But I will find out,” he said.

However, the vice-chancellor of LASU said efforts are in place to ensure that normalcy returned to the campus.

“The unions are asking for the government to commit to payment of their minimum wage. Management is fully engaging with them with the support of SA education and SA labour,” Mr Fagbohun said briefly.

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